Downtown Elkin again participating in Shop Small Saturday promotion this weekend

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

While many may be planning out their shopping schedule to reap the benefits of Black Friday deals, local business owners are hoping shoppers also take advantage of Shop Small Saturday by patronizing their retail and eating establishments for deals and perks.

Each year, the Saturday following Thanksgiving is coined as Shop Small Saturday, a promotion begun by American Express several years ago in an effort to encourage shoppers not to forget their small, local businesses when buying gifts and looking for deals.

This is the fourth year Elkin has participated in the promotion, which provides free canvas bags to shoppers. Laura Gaylord, Main Street and community manager for the town of Elkin, said this year’s bags have a quilt theme.

She said a number of locations in downtown Elkin, and beyond, are taking part in the promotion this Saturday, beginning with Dirty Joe’s Coffee, which opens at 7 a.m., and ending late in the night with deals like free appetizers, nonalcoholic drinks or desserts at eateries like Fiddles Pub, Angry Troll Brewing at 222 and Southern on Main.

In between, the deals will be in locations all around downtown. “Everybody’s got something different,” Gaylord said of the deals. “Most of the retail or restaurants are doing some type of promotion like either free cookies or refreshments, or discounts. There are all kinds of things going on.”

The promotion locally also includes a passport program. Shoppers to downtown can pick up a passport card at any of the participating locations, which will be indicated by a sign, mat at the door or balloons. Then the shoppers as they patronize the downtown locations can get their cards signed off on at least six spots for a chance to be entered in a drawing for door prizes. With eight spots signed off on, they will be entered twice in the drawing, which includes a grand prize drawing. Prizes are still being taken and finalized.

Passports, once completed, are left at the last stop shoppers are visiting, Gaylord said. She will then collect them next week to do the drawing.

“We hope people go to these locations and don’t just run in and get stamped and run out. We want them to use the discounts available and meet some of the new owners downtown and enjoy your town,” Gaylord said.

Gaylord said the Shop Small Saturday promotion seems to be benefiting the local establishments. “I would say there are a lot of people who came to downtown who may not have come before, because they heard about the promotion.”

She shared a story about Surry County resident and historian Marion Venable, who last year visited downtown Elkin to shop for the day. Venable won the grand prize drawing, and when Gaylord called her to let her know, Venable’s response was that she’d already won the grand prize.

Venable said she’d gone to the Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat ReStore as her last stop on her passport, and while there, she found a little bowl she liked and purchased it. She took it home and sat it on her dining room table and a couple of weeks later, she scratched off the price tag to find her own grandmother’s initials on the bottom of the bowl where she’d made it.

“So you never know what’s going to happen on Shop Small Saturday. She may have never found that bowl,” Gaylord said.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood