Downtown merchants will welcome shoppers to experience a local holiday tradition during the annual Holiday Open House Friday and Saturday in downtown Elkins.
More than twenty local businesses will participate in the 2012 event offering a total of $250 in giveaways. Five gift certificates will be awarded in a drawing on Dec. 4, including one $100 certificate, two valued at $50 and two at $25.
Sponsored by Elkins ON TRAC, the event not only offers shoppers a chance to win prizes with each purchase, but also gives merchants a chance to welcome townspeople to their businesses.
"It's a good time for merchants to show customers how much they appreciate them and a good time for people to visit stores they've never been in before," said Sherry Hammer, owner of Hopscotch on Third Street. "Many merchants will have refreshments, door prizes and unadvertised sales in addition to the drawings."
Buying from locally owned businesses is also an investment in the community. Studies have shown a far greater percentage of revenue returns to the community from local retailers than from chain stores.
"If people knew how much their purchases support the local economy, they would be more likely to shop locally," Hammer said.
"Local businesses put local people to work and provide a sense of place for residents," said Karen Carper, ON TRAC project manager. "Downtown is where we feel at home, not the big box stores." Carper said this concept led the group to adopt the slogan, "Put your money where your house is."
During the Holiday Open House, shoppers will not only help boost the local economy, but will also have a chance to enter the drawing for gift certificates with each purchase at participating businesses. A raffle ticket will be issued with every purchase, allowing shoppers to enter as many times as they buy. Winners will be notified on Dec. 4 so they can spend certificates on other holiday purchases.
Winners are not required to spend the entire certificate at one business, but may visit several participating stores to redeem it by the end of the year. All gift certificates will expire Jan. 1.
In addition to the raffle, many businesses will also welcome shoppers with refreshments and specials. Some businesses host open houses on Friday while others will have special events on Saturday, but customers can enter the drawing on both days during store hours at any participating business. Shoppers should check with individual businesses for hours of operation.
Participating businesses on Davis Avenue include Artists at Work, Ceramics with Class, Elkins Sewing Center, Jabberwock, Main Line Books, Papa John's Pizza, Rustic Corner, The Closet and Tricket Hardware.
On Third Street, B&J Music, Coming Around Again, Counter Culture Concepts, Henry G's, Hometown Cafe, Hopscotch, Joey's Bike Shop, TD's Classic Ts, Talbott Frameshop and Third Street Trading Company will participate.
Cardinal Creations, Mee Mee'z and the Victorian Emporium, all on Kerens Avenue, and the Randolph County Community Arts Center, located on the corner of Randolph Avenue and Park Street, also will participate.
For more information about Elkins ON TRAC events and activities or to volunteer as a project participant, find Elkins ON TRAC on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.