Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have given way to the relative calm of the normal holiday shopping season, the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce is reminding local residents to think of their local retailers when heading out to do shopping.
“There was a really nice and highly successful national effort aimed at reminding shoppers around the country to patronize their local merchants during the holidays and we thought that was a great message to send out,” said Winthrop Chamber Executive Director Eric Gaynor.
The promotional event that Gaynor mentioned was the ‘Small Business Saturday’ that was promoted nationally by American Express and national Chambers of Commerce and held the weekend after Thanksgiving and between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions that focused people’s attention on big box retailers and internet shopping sites.
“Locally, we’re trying to encourage people to patronize the small, independent local businesses for some of their shopping needs and one way we’re doing that is through the Chamber’s Winthrop Dollars Gift Certificate program,” said Gaynor.
Unlike the mall gift certificates or gift cards and gift cards for big box retailers, Gaynor said that Winthrop Dollars gift certificates are more convenient to use and offer a wider range of products and services for shoppers.
Plus, the Winthrop Dollars have the added benefit of supporting local businesses that in turn support the community.
“I think the only criticism we’ve heard, is that we really don’t have any clothing retailers involved with the Winthrop Dollars, but we pretty much have everything else under the sun,” he said. “So that’s something we’re trying to promote.”
Gaynor also noted that holiday shopping dollars spent in Winthrop have a tendency to do more for the local economy, then say dollars charged to an on-line retailer.
“Once your money leaves Winthrop to go to an on-line retailer, it won’t have any effect on local businesses,” added Gaynor. “However, money spent locally with a merchant helps support jobs in those businesses and the money can then be spent into the economy again.”
According to the Chamber of Commerce, Winthrop Dollars gift certificates can be redeemed at most businesses in town and recently, the Chamber has seen an increase in sales of the Winthrop dollars by out of town purchasers, who want to buy something local for a friend or family member who lives in town. Since the gift certificated can be purchased on line through the Winthropchamber.com or Ilovewinthrop.com websites, on-line shoppers can also purchase them for gifts.