Mar-Mac, PdC businesses collaborate for Santa Shops Small promotion

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Small businesses in Marquette, McGregor and Prairie du Chien are banding together this holiday season for a special promotion called Santa Shops Small.

Spearheaded by Katie Ruff, owner of By the Spoonful in McGregor, and Teresa Champion, owner of The Planted Tree Gallery in Prairie du Chien, the event will reward shoppers who make purchases at participating businesses from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24. Simply pick up a Santa Shops Small punch card and get a punch for every $10 you spend at a business. Once your card is full, drop it at the business where you’d like the opportunity to win a prize. Each participating business will have a $25 prize to give away.

For the past few years, the communities have been highlighting Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving where shoppers are encouraged to support local, small businesses rather than big box stores or online retailers. While Santa Shops Small will begin on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, the promotion will give people an incentive to shop small in the weeks leading up to Christmas too, said Ruff.

“Small Business Saturday is a big day, but it doesn’t mean only shop small that day. We can turn that one-day celebration into the whole holiday season,” she shared. “We can reward locals who shop small all the time.”

Having a whole month will also give people more time to leisurely shop, Champion added.

“When it goes the entire holiday season, it makes it more available for people’s schedules. A lot of people still have some things to pick up that last week before Christmas,” she said. “No matter when they decide to shop, they can get in on the promotion.”

Santa Shops Small will include not only retail businesses, but bars and restaurants and salons, as well. 

“The holiday season is not just shopping retail,” Ruff said. “If you’re eating out or getting your hair done, those are small businesses too.”

Champion and Ruff stressed the importance of the cities working together. Speaking with other small business owners from both sides of the river, Ruff said they largely view Marquette, McGregor and Prairie du Chien as one “community.” Patrons feel that way too, Champion noted.

“When people shop—whether they’re locals or tourists—they come to the entire area,” she said. “Each downtown has something to offer. We have a nice selection together.”

The two business owners said they already work together by suggesting other local shops to their customers, and Santa Shops Small will simply add to that.

“It’s crucial, in small towns, to do that,” Champion remarked. “The more we support each other, the better it is for our customers.”

“Maybe this will encourage people to stop in shops they’ve never been in before,” Ruff said.

She’s optimistic the collaborative event will also spawn other efforts.

“Hopefully more will come from working together,” she added.

Santa Shops Small participants include:

Marquette - Eagles Landing Winery and Hair Hut.

McGregor - Backwoods Bar and Grill, By the Spoonful, McGregor Mercantile, Navy Rose, Paper Moon and Pocket City Pub.

Prairie du Chien - The Broken Ladder, Cafe Hope, JC Party Store, The Local Oven, Mississippi Meats, Mist-ified, Muddy Waters Pizza Pub, Nelson’s True Value, Panka Shoes, Pickett Fence, The Planted Tree Gallery, Radio Shack and Wall Street.

Learn more by checking out the ad in today’s paper or visiting the “Santa Shops Small Holiday Giveaway” Facebook event.

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