NEWBURYPORT — As the annual shopping frenzy known as Black Friday returns today, local merchants hope residents and visitors will consider more sentimental and community-oriented purchases on Small Business Saturday.
The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry spent the past week decorating the Christmas tree in Market Square and adorning downtown lampposts with seasonal greenery in preparation for the holidays.
“Newburyport has such a great variety of shops that you can get everyone on your list done without ever having to leave town,” Chamber Vice President Mark Iannuccillo said in an email.
Many of the Chamber’s members are banding together and connecting with nonmember merchants to offer incentives for shoppers.
“At the Chamber, we love to see our members, residents and visitors come together and it really is all about community and drawing people in to shop, dine, stay and play with local entrepreneurs,” Iannuccillo said.
Each merchant is offering a gift inside the tote bag, and customers can utilize the tote bag to earn an additional 10 to 20% off their purchase at all 12 retailers.
Sarah Landry and Katie Rocheford, co-owners of Salt & Grove at 7 Prince Place, believe Small Business Saturday gives residents the chance to get to know their community.
“The idea is the first 10 shoppers will come, get a bag filled with the giveaway from that particular store and then they’ll get the discount at the store and all the other businesses,” Landry said.
For example, Face Food is offering a cosmetics bag of goodies and Salt & Grove is giving away a small-batch coffee blend and tea towel.
“It creates a road map, or a shopping path, for people to take on Small Business Saturday because it can be overwhelming,” Landry said. There are so many places to shop. Obviously, this is just a small bunch, but I think it encourages shopping around town.”
Rocheford said despite living in Newburyport, she and many people she speaks to don’t often take the time to experience what downtown has to offer.
“We live here and we don’t take advantage of it,” she said. “We kind of take it for granted a little bit, so this is a great way to really push people to get out and enjoy our own community.”
Landry and Rocheford first proposed the idea for a community-oriented Small Business Saturday last year and were proud of the results.
“Last year was a huge success — there were lines outside the doors — and it really promoted getting around in the community to shop local,” Landry said.
For full details of the event, go to www.facebook.com/events/2757510200968303.
Across the river, Small Business Saturday returns for another year to Amesbury.
The Amesbury Chamber of Commerce & Industrial Foundation hopes people will support small businesses year-round but on Saturday, they will be giving away raffle tickets between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to people who prove they have shopped local. The prize is a $100 American Express gift card.
The Chamber will also be selling Amesbury-opoly, which was created last year for the city’s 350th anniversary. More information can be found at amesburychamber.com.
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.