Small Businesses Gear Up: Grassroots promotions invite customers to shop local

TROY>> Downtown Troy business owners are getting creative this holiday season in an attempt to keep shoppers from getting, as they say, “malled.”

On Monday (Nov. 24) night, volunteer shop and restaurant owners along with other artists and friends, met at the Lucas Confectionery wine bar to screen print 200 re-usable canvas totes in preparation for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29.

“Each bag has an enjoy troy logo printed on it,” said Erin Pihlaja, executive director of the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District. “Over 20 businesses will carry the bags and customers can purchase them for three dollars. Inside the bag will be a list of participating venues where customers can use their tote as a passport to access discounts and savings all day.” The effort is part of the BID’s “Mall-ternative” campaign which promotes shopping in locally-owned businesses.

The Friday before Small Business Saturday is known as Black Friday, and in Troy it also happens to be Troy Night Out, the district’s monthly arts and culture event. Most venues will be offering discounts and sales and participating businesses will shine green lights in their windows to signify that downtown is open for holiday business.

“Every year you hear people complain about what a hassle holiday shopping can be,” said Pihlaja. “We don’t think it has to be that way. Shopping downtown in small stores is a social event. The pace is slower, the lighting is nicer, and the products are unique. Local business owners might be your neighbor or friend. It’s an enjoyable experience.”

Many believe that shopping local is good for the local economy. LocalFirst.com published a study showing that $68 of every $100 spent in a locally-owned business stayed in the local economy, versus $43 out of every $100 spent in non-locally owned locations.

To date, over 30 new businesses have opened in downtown Troy.


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