Appleton Downtown’s Shop Local 920 challenge to help small businesses for the holidays

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Many retailers depend on the holiday shopping season for some of their biggest earnings. This year, because of the pandemic, small shops are relying on holiday-time business more than ever.

Appleton Downtown Inc. created a Support Local 920 campaign to help.

“It puts a challenge and some fun on the aspect of supporting local this holiday season,” said Lynn Schemm, Marketing Director at Appleton Downtown.

Support Local 920 challenges people to pledge that they will choose nine small businesses from now through December and spend $20 at each. Both retail and dining locations are part of the campaign.

“While they’re doing their holiday shopping, they’re out dining, they’re getting gift certificates, there’s so many different ways you can support these businesses and it kind of puts a fun spin on it,” said Schemm.

People can sign up online at Appleton Downtown’s website, all that’s needed is a name and email address.

“You’ll find these large posters up and down College Avenue as well, in store fronts, with a QR code that you can easily scan to go and sign it as well.”

People who sign up get entered into random drawings held throughout November and December for gift cards usable at any downtown business.

“When you’re shopping and dining local, three times as much money stays in your community than if you were to shop at a big chain store,” said Schemm. “So this is really doing your part to make sure that our local economy stays strong and that our downtown also stays strong.

“We’re just excited. I feel like this is the kind of pump that downtown needs right now,” said Toni Watry, owner of Vintage Garden.

Watry and Lillian’s owner Kara Manuel both agree business during the pandemic hasn’t been ideal.

“Those big events that have been canceled, people who don’t necessarily shop downtown but come down, see us and then come back or stop in on that day, that has been missing,” said Watry.

But they hope the 920 campaign will help turn that around.

“The holidays are such a magical time of year, especially downtown with all of our windows, all the lights, all the things,” said Watry. “So anything that we can get people back down here and engaged with the community is awesome.”

“It’s kind of like an adventure, like a game,” said Manuel. “So it gives families a reason to go ‘Oh my gosh, I get to pick nine stores and spend 20 dollars!’”

Some local stores have started online shopping or arranged personal shopping for those who feel their health is extra vulnerable.

“Open up early or later for them so they can bring their moms in so they can do some Christmas shopping and feel safe and comfortable,” said Manuel. “We can do those extra little things to make it extra special for people and make it safe.”

They feel prepared to give people a safe, welcoming holiday experience, and hope to see people take advantage.

“Have fun with the 920 and come down and pick nine,” said Manuel. “I mean, there’s so many awesome stores down here.”

To learn more or to sign up for the pledge CLICK HERE.

For a list of Appleton shops and restaurants, CLICK HERE

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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