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Main Street celebrates Small Biz Saturday

While all the national chain stores in Fort Dodge will boast seemingly endless Black Friday sales and shoppers are sure to line up early for the doorbuster deals, Main Street Fort Dodge wants area shoppers to remember that the next day is a monumentally important sales day for locally-owned small businesses.

The concept of Small Business Saturday was created more than a decade ago by the American Express credit card brand as a way to encourage shoppers to spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving shopping at local small businesses.

Main Street Fort Dodge, led by Executive Director Sharon Stroh, works with downtown merchants to promote the shopping holiday.

For shoppers who get downtown early, Main Street Fort Dodge will be offering $25 in Merry Money good for purchases with participating retailers. To get their share of that Merry Money, people need to get to Green State Credit Union, 1207 Central Ave. between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The first 40 people to check in there will get the money.

Visitors to participating businesses can enter a raffle drawing for one of two giveaway baskets filled with merchandise and products from all the downtown retailers.

“They can enter at any participating merchant, no purchase required,” Stroh said.

Most stores will offer special discounts, sales and deals this weekend, Stroh said. Shoppers are also encouraged to pick up a holiday shopping punch card at any of the participating businesses. The punch cards are used to help track roughly how much is spent by shoppers — for every $10 spent, the card gets a punch and each card can hold five punches. Shoppers then turn in those punch cards, which Stroh will collect and then calculate the day’s economic impact.

“In 2022, there was a collective economic impact of over $8,700 just on Saturday, and 96 percent of Merry Money was circulated through the district,” Stroh said.

The local observance of Small Business Saturday is sponsored by Main Street Fort Dodge, Green State Credit Union, and Visit Fort Dodge.

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