BATAVIA – With snowflakes in the air and store windows dressed to sparkle, local shopkeepers stand ready to help Batavians find perfect gifts from the heart.
In advance of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25, the Batavia Chamber of Commerce and Batavia MainStreet are boosting holiday anticipation by teaming up to organize a drawing for numerous gift baskets full of donated items from merchants, restaurants and service providers.
Batavia MainStreet is focused on involving downtown businesses, while the chamber is drawing participants from a little farther out, said Holly Deitchman, chamber president and CEO.
“We’ve had great participation this year,” Deitchman said. “Our kickoff event is on Nov. 25, when we’re trying to encourage everyone to start off their holiday shopping season.”
Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express, which provides a variety of blue-and-white giveaway items, including tote bags that will be offered at stores to thank people for shopping local.
And people who spend $20 or more at a participating Batavia business on Nov. 25 will receive a raffle ticket for the gift basket drawing. Winners will be contacted the following week.
The Thanksgiving weekend national campaign has been gaining momentum. A record 112 million shoppers and diners reportedly spent money on Small Business Saturday last year, which represents a 13 percent increase over 2015, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express.
Deitchman said shopping local means contributing to the success of a neighbor’s business, and ensuring that the sales tax revenue will be distributed locally.
“We know there’s a benefit to increasing sales in those businesses, and so much does come back to the community,” she said.
Deitchman asked: Doesn’t everybody love businesses where they know your name?
“They create a charming shopping experience for people that makes them want to come back,” she said.
The gift baskets will be displayed in the window at Special Occasions on the Avenue, said Jamie Saam, executive director of Batavia MainStreet.
She said tickets can be dropped in the blue-and-white raffle box that will be placed at the recently installed display dubbed Storehenge at the corner of Wilson Street and Island Avenue on Nov. 25. It tells the history of business and industry in Batavia through text and photographs.
Taking part in the shopping promotion will be numerous merchants, from Beardsgaard Barbers with its River Peak Apothecary products, to K.Hollis Jewelers, Batavia Parcel, FAWN Gifts and 715 Vintage. Batavia MainStreet will provide a flyer highlighting all the participants and other businesses in town.
Saam said supporting local merchants means those families can reinvest in their community, keeping those dollars local.
“[Stores] will be running promotions throughout the Christmas season to entice people to shop in Batavia,” Saam said.
One such event is the annual holiday open house Nov. 26 at Bee Attitudes Antiques, featuring refreshments and drawings. It’s also the day for Batavia’s Celebration of Lights Festival, which will include an indoor holiday market showcasing local artisans.
And looking to December, Batavia MainStreet has invited Santa to drop by the first three Saturdays of the month at a different business each week – first Limestone Coffee and Tea and then Beardsgaard Barbers and Underground Allegro Dance Center. A free craft will be offered to children from 10 a.m. to noon, and Santa will visit from 11 a.m. to noon.
Holiday Gift Auction
Shaw Media will host a Holiday Gift Auction featuring local businesses from Nov. 17 to 27. Gifts listed on the auction site will be available for up to 50 percent off. Those featured on the site include State Street Jewelers, Kane County Cougars, All Spoked Up, Skin Deep Day Spa, The Herrington Inn and Spa and others. Visit kcchronicle.com for more information.