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Today is Small Business Saturday

It’s a time to support downtown merchants

Shoppers, including many who hit the big box stores in an early morning frenzy Friday, are encouraged to spend today checking out the unique things offered by our community’s small shops.

In Fort Dodge, many of those small shops are downtown.

Nationwide, today is known as Small Business Saturday. It’s a long-standing effort to encourage people to spend some of their Christmas-shopping dollars with small stores. Small businesses employ about 50 percent of people working in private sector jobs. And it is small businesses, not big online retailers, who sponsor our kids’ sports teams and contribute to local charities. And let’s not forget that those small shops have a lot of nice stuff awaiting buyers. So clearly, small businesses are worthy of our support today and every day

For those who get downtown early enough today, there will be a kind of cash giveaway. No one will be handing out United States currency, but there will be $25 in what organizers call Merry Money good for purchases with participating downtown retailers. To get their $25 share of the Merry Money, shoppers 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 Merry Money.

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

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

After the shopping winds down this weekend, a special guest from the North Pole will arrive on Monday to literally light up the town.

Santa Claus and Mayor Matt Bemrich will light the Christmas tree at the City Square at 5 p.m. Monday. Then they will progress east to Central Avenue and 12th Street to light the large tree there.

At about 5:30 p.m., Santa will go to the Wells Fargo building, 822 Central Ave., to visit with his admirers of all ages. There will be crafts for the kids plus hot chocolate and hot cider.

We encourage everyone to come downtown, do some shopping and enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season.

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