The Hinesville Downtown Development Authority is planning several promotions to help local businesses through National Shop Small Saturday and beyond. The plans were discussed during the HDDA’s Downtown Partners Meeting held Nov. 4, via Zoom.
National Shop Small Saturday is a nationwide program started by American Express in the midst of the 2010 recession. Each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving people are encouraged to visit locally owned and operated stores while making their holiday purchases. This year Shop Small is on Nov. 28.
But HDDA Director Michelle Ricketson said they want to expand on the theme this year and carry on the shop small tradition for the remainder of the year and beyond.
During the meeting Ricketson said they became aware of a $10,000 grant opportunity offered by the Georgia Main Street Innovation Grant Program. She said her team worked feverishly to make sure they got the application turned in by the deadline.
Ricketson said if the HDDA receives the funding, they plan to use the funds to assist businesses by purchasing sanitizing materials to help the local store owners deal with COVID-19. Some of the funds will also be used to purchase, “Shop Small in Big Ways,” merchandise that will be given to local retailers to sell. The retailers will keep the profits from those items sold. Ricketson said they’ll spend some funds for the remainder of their, “Shop Small, Shop Safe,” campaign.
HDDA Main Street Program Manager Jeffrey Porter said the Georgia Main Street Organization has created several display templates that local businesses can download and use at their stores during the campaign. Business owners are also encouraged to use the hashtags #ShopSafeMainStreet, #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal.
Shop Small in Big Ways is the initiative the HDDA plans to use to continue the Shop Small theme into 2021.
They are working on the branding and promotional materials for the Shop Small in Big Ways campaign and planning to incorporate the theme and colors currently used on some of the HDDA Hinesville T-Shirts.
As we enter the New Year the HDDA will start their Shop Your Heart Out campaign from January 14, through Valentine’s Day. Ricketson said they are looking for 25 local businesses that want to be part of the promotion. Those businesses will receive the Shop Your Heart Out decal for their windowfront. Participating stores will be offering select items up to 14 percent off the regular price. They plan to offer this program quarterly.
“Our hope is that we will work with businesses to have these decal a couple of times per year,” Ricketson said. “And shoppers, almost like Where’s Waldo, can look for the decals on the business door and know that there is a special promotion happening.”
Porter said the HDDA will host a Homegrown and Homemade Thanksgiving Market from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Nov. 21, at Bradwell Park.
He said the Nov. 22, Mayor’s Service of Songs and Prayer and Thanksgiving is now a virtual event only and will be on the City’s Facebook Page at 6 p.m.
On Shop Small Saturday Bradwell Park will have another Homegrown and Homemade Shop Small-Shop Local Market from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The City’s Hinesville Tree lighting event has also moved to virtual only on Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.
The 24th annual Liberty County Chamber of Commerce will have their Illuminated Christmas Parade starting at 6:30 p.m.
There will be a final Homegrown and Homemade Thanksgiving Market from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Bradwell Park.