A crucial period of sales for many business owners takes place in the last two months of each year as holidays are celebrated, families gather over food and gifts are purchased. Throughout the community, residents are being urged to support local businesses and taxes through their purchases.
Parnick Jennings, co-founder of the Bartow Business Connection and organizer of an incentive program this holiday season, detailed the sobering facts of local patronage.
"If we don't [shop locally], come the first of the year some of our friends are not going to be in business -- I fear that. Last year, there were several that because they did not generate enough business during the holidays, which is the major time they make their money, they won't be here," Jennings said.
Several events will encourage local shopping this year through discounts, drawings and awareness. On Thursday, the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority will unveil an incentive tool as they host an open house at the Cartersville depot from 4 to 6 p.m.
Beginning Thursday, the Downtown Passport can be found at the depot or at local shops and restaurants around downtown Cartersville. Officials ask shoppers to make purchases at three downtown businesses or restaurants between Nov. 18 and Dec. 17 when a drawing will be made for either a restaurant package with gift certificates or a $100 downtown shopping spree. Participants just keep their receipt from local merchants and bring them to the depot before the drawing at noon on Friday, Dec. 17, for verification.
"It's so important to keep our tax dollars locally. The millions of dollars that go outside of Bartow County are felt here locally," said Liz Hood, executive director of the Cartersville DDA. "We encourage you to make it your holiday goal that, if you can't buy all, to buy as many of your gifts for holiday giving as possible in Bartow County and also to keep your holiday family and business parties local as well."
Taking place Friday will be Holiday Shopping at the Chamber hosted by the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. This first-time event will bring together merchants and customers in one location. With about a dozen establishments from large to small in attendance, Holiday Shopping at the Chamber hopes to create a mini-mall of local shopping options. The Small Business Council has asked participating businesses to showcase items relating to two themes: presents for hard-to-buy-for people and trendy, must-have items.
"The economy is tough and it's hard on families as well as businesses but one of the principals of the Small Business Council as well as the Chamber is to try to do everything we can to provide opportunities and do what we can to arrange events, whether it be sponsor seminars or events for the benefit of the small business owner," Jones said. "The holiday shopping event is just another attempt to try to get buyers and sellers together. To provide a marketplace that is easy for the local residents of the community to come to one place and see several local merchants."
Lastly, Parnick Jennings and Jessica Fleetwood of the Bartow Business Connection will host their second annual Christmas Parade Party on Thursday, Dec. 2, at Stonewall Manor. Tickets are $25 and proceeds will benefit the Christmas Community Luncheon as well as Advocates Young Professionals. The parade party ticket covers food and drinks from 4 p.m. to midnight as the parade passes Stonewall Manor. New to the program this year is a discount at local businesses and restaurants through the month of December. More than 30 shops and dining establishments have added their name to the list with businesses offering up to 20 percent off purchases and restaurants honoring half-off a second entree.
"The new addition is trying to encourage people to shop locally," Jennings said. "The thought is, if we can incentivize someone to shop locally, that it would be good for the economy and at the same time it will be good for the people because they'll get a discounted amount and we know that money is tight over the holidays. And thirdly, any monies that are generated from the sale of the tickets are going to stay right here in Bartow County."
A list of participating businesses can be found at www.bartowbusinessconnection.com. For tickets, call 678-767-7169 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to add a business to the list.