Shoppers urged to keep it local

Brenda Mull, president of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce is promoting Small Business Saturday and said support now from local residents will help to ensure such businesses continue to serve.

“In the times we are in right now, we have to support our local businesses,” Mull said, adding, “When this pandemic is over, we want to know they will still be here. And after what they have been through, they deserve to be here.”

The Follansbee Chamber of Commerce — along with those in Weirton and in Jefferson County — has joined in raising awareness of Small Business Saturday and in some cases, what specific businesses are doing, through promotional materials and their websites and Facebook pages.

Brandi Puskarich, vice president of the Follansbee chamber, noted many small businesses support community festivals and other special events, sponsor local sports leagues and donate prizes for auctions and drawings benefiting various charities.

She added much of the money received by local businesses is returned to the local economy.

“When you shop at a small business, 67 cents of every dollar stays in your community. It does make a difference when you support the small businesses,” Puskarich said

The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is also urging people to “Buy Local” this holiday shopping season.

The chamber is kicking off its efforts to support local businesses with a Small Business Saturday event from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday at M&M True Value Hardware.

“Do your part this year by spreading the ‘Shift Your Shopping’ message between now and Christmas Day,” Chamber President Tricia Maple-Damewood said in a press release from the chamber.

“Look to our local members first for holiday purchases and we all will come out the other side of 2020 much stronger. From gifts, gas, and take-out or a new car to home improvements, haircuts or Christmas portraits — it all adds up.”

The chamber also has several items for member businesses to use to promote buying local this holiday season on its http://www.jeffersoncountychamber.com website.

On Saturday, the chamber will be handing out coupons, fliers, menus or small giveaway items provided by business and provide coffee to shoppers while promoting shopping local at its Small Business Saturday station.

They will also be promoting the chamber’s Buy Local Holiday Receipt Raffle. Shoppers enter by logging their receipts from purchases made at local businesses from Saturday until Dec. 24.

For every $50 spent locally, shoppers receive one entry in a drawing to win $250 cash.

In an earlier interview, Maple-Damewood noted the vital role played by small local businesses was underscored by the services many continued to provide the community following stay at home orders spurred by the pandemic.

“The holidays are a perfect time to remember all of the businesses that were here for us when the pandemic began and we couldn’t leave the area,” she said. “We need to keep shopping at stores we always have shopped at. Your first option should be to seek out, find and shop at local businesses,” said Maple-Damewood.

She noted whether they were forced to close temporarily because they were deemed non-essential or needed to take additional steps to deter spread of the coronavirus, small businesses have been strongly affected by COVID-19.


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