Downtown Partners is hosting Small Business Saturday, a free event which will involve a BINGO game promoting 22 small business downtown on Nov. 30.
German-born Josh Schanda of Downtown Partners met with The Weekender at Hardline Coffee Co. (one of the featured businesses in this event) to talk about Small Business Saturday and what it means to the downtown community, as well as Sioux City as a whole. The last time we talked with him, he was new to Downtown Partners, and has had a very good, interesting and non-repetitive time working at his first job out of college.
Small Business Saturday is in its 10th year nationally, and focuses on getting people to shop in small, locally owned businesses, keeping money in the town it was spent. This is Sioux City's third year participating in the event that has grown since its first iteration.
"The event is organized by the parent company, Shop Small and they are partnering with American Express to support locally owned shops all across the United States and the UK," said Schanda. "More and more cities and neighborhoods have participated since the event started. Downtown Partners became a neighborhood ambassador three years ago. That's when we became involved."
So, how does Sioux City throw a spin on Small Business Saturday? By playing a game of 22-business-BINGO; that's how.
"It is a BINGO game we will be playing with 22 participating businesses," said Schanda. "We invite holiday shoppers to come out and visit those businesses. When they go to the business, they will have to find a small Downtown Partners foam cube hidden by business owners of each business. The location of the cube may be to highlight a specific product or just to be harder to find for the shoppers. Once you find the cube, the business owner or an associate will sign the square on your BINGO card."
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You will be able to pick up a BINGO card *for FREE* at each of the 20 participating businesses, as well as the Downtown Partners office (418 Pierce St.). Hit up as many businesses as you can, because with every row of five you complete, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of three gift baskets valued between $25 and $150. If you visit every location successfully and get a "blackout" of your whole BINGO board, you will be entered into a drawing for a gift basket valued at $250+. If you don't win that, you will be entered 10 times in the drawings for the three smaller gift baskets. One thing to remember, for a "blackout" you will have to purchase an item from two of the businesses, completing the two "purchased item bonus spaces."
The gift baskets include a smorgasbord of gift certificates and items like a year-long family membership to LaunchPad. There are a LOT of gift certificates that will be given out, and hey, that could mean easy gifting for the winners this holiday season.
It is easy to figure out why Downtown Partners has been holding this event the past couple years. It promotes businesses and keeps money in our community instead of said money being doled nationally or internationally by online shopping.
"We want to support our locally owned shops for a variety of reasons," he said. "The main reason is that these businesses add more value to our community and neighborhood than larger stores. For every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $68 usually stays in the community. Buying from a national chain in town, only $43 out of the $100 stays in our community. On top of that, you will find unique items that only you will have instead of mass produced items anyone can purchase."
If you are wrestling with reasons to attend this event, Schanda makes his case on why you should participate.
"The gift baskets, obviously," he said. "But we live in Sioux City and we have a responsibility to support our local businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of our society. There is no better way to support than by playing a fun game of BINGO on the Saturday afternoon between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's also your opportunity to check out several new businesses that have started in this past year. More people are employed by small businesses than large ones, so it is honorable to support them."
Stay tuned on Downtown Partners social media outlets for more information on the upcoming event.