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Ready, Set, SHOP!

November 23, 2018

Nadine Price, left, of Pittsfield and Nadine Martel of Fitchburg look at gifts on display at the Mill No. 3 Farmstand Wednesday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/ MINA CORPUZ Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Mina Corpuz

mcorpuz@sentinel andenterprise.com

FITCHBURG -- Nearly 30 businesses will participate in Small Business Saturday this weekend to encourage people to buy local and to kick of the holiday shopping season.

“They are taking part in something bigger than themselves,” said Mary Jo Bohart, the city’s director of economic development. “It’s nice to see local people take that day to patronize their hometown businesses.”

Fitchburg has been a part of Small Business Saturday for the past several years, she said.

Businesses participating include art and photo galleries, fitness studios, restaurants, clothing stores, and academic services. There are also ones that offer activities, like Curious Escape Rooms and Putnam Street Lanes for candlepin bowling.

The businesses will offer promotions like free classes, coupons, and in store discounts.

Small Business Saturday, which is early in the holiday shopping season, sets the tone and reminds people to explore what their local stores and downtowns have to offer, Bohart said.

Shopping at local businesses can provide better customer service and unique products that people can’t always get in big stores, she said.

There are “hidden gems” at the participating stores, she said, like the jewelry at Gallery Sitka on Main Street.

Dan Mulloy runs Mill No. 3 with his wife Denise on Westminster Street. He said Small Business Saturday falls on the day when the store starts to get busy.

“After (Thanksgiving) it turns into Christmas,” he said. “In the past, we thought of (Small Business Saturday) as just another day.”

The store has a variety of food and gift items for holiday shopping.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Mulloy said.

For its Small Business Saturday promotion, Mill No. 3 will offer free wine, oil, and vinegar tastings.

Ray Davin, who owns Debonis and Davin Florist with his wife Carol on Main Street, said this is the first year the floral shop is participating in Small Business Saturday.

“It seemed like a good idea and it can stimulate some walking traffic on Main Street,” he said.

Debonis and Davin has been around for about 45 years and serves the city, Ashburnham, Leominster, Lunenburg, and Westminster, Davin said, adding that some customers who have moved out of state still like to order flowers from them.

The store will offer a 20 percent discount on all store items excluding cut flowers and wire out orders.

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 as the country was recovering from the recession. The goal was to encourage people to “Shop Small” instead of going to big stores for holiday gifts.

Since the day started, customers across the country have spent about $85 billion at independent stores and restaurants, according to American Express.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz

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