NEWBURYPORT — Forever Green Newburyport is pushing for people to rethink the way they shop beginning with the Spirit of Renewal 2019 Holiday Tour, which kicked off on Small Business Saturday and continues through Dec. 22.
More than 30 merchants downtown and at The Tannery Marketplace are offering Forever Green's passport, which customers can use to earn stamps and win prizes. For shops, there is a decoration contest involving repurposed bicycle wheels.
The idea is to get people to not only shop locally, but to do so in a more eco-friendly manner. By avoiding "big box" stores and online retailers, customers can reduce the amount of packaging and waste they produce.
For the decoration contest, merchants are given an old bicycle wheel — donated by Riverside Cycle in Newburyport — to use with other recycled materials for their holiday decor. Judges will vote on the shop with the best decorations Thursday, but customers will have through Dec. 22 to vote for People's Choice.
For the passport, each stamp ranges from two to four points and earning a certain number of points provides customers with entries in a raffle. Thirty points earns one raffle ticket, 60 points earns three and 90 points earns 10.
The 30-plus prizes are provided by merchants and vary from gift cards to baskets of goodies.
For Gretchen DesAutels, owner of Grass Roots Antiques and Handmades at Prince Place, the tour invites people to seek shops like hers, which may be overlooked. "We decided that you get more points for the shops that are not on the main roads."
Shops on Market and State streets earn two points per stamp, and stores beyond that earn stamps ranging from three to six points.
"The further you branch out, the more points you get and this will go all the way down to the traffic circle," DesAutels said.
Deb Green, owner of Greetings By Design on Water Street, said the holiday initiative is only a start. She hopes this tour will be the foundation for others looking to "support the city as a green city."
In addition to Green's and DesAutels', stores participating are Brass Lyon, The Cottage, The Dragon's Nest, Face Food, French Twist Salon, Green Plum Vintage Goods, Lively Kids, Market Square Jewelers, Meraki, O Bag, Salt Cellar, Saracy's Flower Shop, Soak & Shoreline, Souffles, Stonewall Kitchen, Vaalbara, Valerie's Gallery, BC Essentials, Commune, Elephant's Trunk, Figtree Kitchen, Jack Rabbit, Life Is Good, Paper Moon, Polished Salon & Boutique, Vintage Chic Anew, Vintage Faire Antiques, When Pigs Fly, Beach Plum Flower Shop, Port Plums and Newburyport Olive Oil, Jan Lorrey Flowers, Plum Island Coffee Roasters, and Changing Tides Cafe & Donut Shop.
Forever Green Newburyport is a committee made up of Green, DesAutels, Troy Bowers and Kitty Krajci.
Ballot boxes and passports will be at all participating stores throughout the tour. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/forevergreennbpt.
Staff writer Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.