Small Business Saturday event encourages people to shop local

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‘Tis the season…to shop local. McGregor and Marquette businesses are hoping to encourage shoppers to do just that this holiday season, beginning on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

‘Tis the season…to shop local. McGregor and Marquette businesses are hoping to encourage shoppers to do just that this holiday season, beginning on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day, 15 businesses in the two communities will collaborate to offer activities, refreshments and special shopping deals.

The idea was spearheaded by Katie Ruff, owner of By the Spoonful in McGregor, and also the vice president of the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce. Now in her third year as a small business owner, Ruff said she wants to make McGregor and Marquette a destination for holiday shoppers rather than an afterthought following Black Friday or stopping in other communities.

“We want to encourage as many businesses to be open as possible to bring a spark, for people to say ‘let’s go to Marquette and McGregor,’” she said.

A highlight of the day will include an opportunity to be placed in a drawing for prizes provided by local businesses. All you need to participate is a punch card, which can be obtained at Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette or By the Spoonful or the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts in McGregor. The participating businesses will be listed on the card. When making a purchase at any of the businesses, have the clerk initial your card. Once you are finished shopping, drop the card at any of the participating businesses to be placed in the drawing, which will be held Monday, Nov. 30. Shoppers need not be present to win. The more stores you visit and make purchases at, the more chances you will have to win.

The day will also feature activities for kids, including crafts at the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m. Santa Claus will visit the art center from 10 a.m. to noon. Each child will receive a gift bag, courtesy of the city of McGregor. Throughout this time, the art center will be open for business, as well. A variety of pieces created by regional artists will be available for purchase every Friday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through Dec. 21.

From 1 to 3 p.m., Paper Moon in McGregor will hold a book signing for mystery author Donald Harstad, who recently released a new book, “November Rain.”

In the evening, consider stopping by Josie’s River Queen in McGregor for a “Rockin’ for the Kids” benefit for all ages, beginning at 8 p.m. All proceeds will go to needy children for Christmas. Musical entertainment will be provided by Three Degrees East. 

The Small Business Saturday movement was launched by American Express in 2010, encouraging people across the country to support small, local businesses. 

“It’s a nice alternative to Black Friday and the big box stores,” Ruff said. Plus, she added, shopping locally supports the local economy and the businesses that give back to the community.

McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Gallagher agreed, stating, “Choosing gifts for yourself, family or friends should be fun. It shouldn’t be a battle.”

With items like wine, clothing, books, jewelry, foods, home decor, antiques, spa treatments and much more available at local businesses, shoppers can find a variety of options for those on their list.

“Shopping at unique, independent businesses has always been a different experience than the ‘everything’s the same’ national chains,” Gallagher said. “Small Business Saturday will emphasize the personal service our shops offer.”

During the winter, Ruff said, many people assume McGregor and Marquette shut down. However, many businesses remain open year-round, she explained. With Small Business Saturday and the shop local movement, she hopes more people will see that.

“You can find holiday gift items in town; you don’t have to travel,” she said. “I hope this will open people’s eyes to what we have in our backyard.”

Ruff said this Small Business Saturday event will hopefully be the beginning of several collaborative efforts among local businesses.

“We want to do more year-round to bring an increased enthusiasm to shop McGregor and Marquette,” she said.

For updates on the activities and promotions offered on Small Business Saturday, check out the “Shop McGregor & Marquette Small Business Saturday” event page on Facebook. Participating businesses include By the Spoonful, Cafe McGregor, Creative Enz, Green Room Spa, Josie’s River Queen, McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts, McGregor Pharmacy, Navy Rose, Paper Moon, Pocket City Pub, Rivertown Fine Books and the Riverview Inn in McGregor, as well as Eagles Landing Winery, the Marquette Cafe and Bar and the Schoolhouse Mall in Marquette.

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