Downtown event draws shoppers to Darlington

November 30, 2018

Children play with the snow in the public square as part of "Shop Small Downtown Open House."

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Hundreds of Pee Dee residents packed the square in downtown Darlington Thursday evening for shopping and holiday celebration.

The Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association (DDRA) held a “Shop Small Downtown Open House” in partnership with American Express and Darlington Area Recreation.

Lisa Chalian-Rock, executive director of the DDRA, said the organization partnered with the campaign to promote local shops.

“I’m always looking for new ways to support and promote our local shops and American Express’s ‘Shop Small Campaign’ had results that Darlington can’t ignore,” Rock said.

Rock said that more than 1,450 neighborhood groups have championed the effort and the campaign has proven to be profitable for local businesses. In 2014, the campaign rallied people to spend $14.3 billion at small independent businesses during Small Business Saturday.

“The DDRA wants Darlington to be a part of that positive trajectory,” Rock said.

Attendees were able to take pictures with Santa Claus, visit with several vendors, enjoy live music and play in snow provided by a snow machine on the public square, all while shopping at their favorite downtown retailers.

Several shops around the square provided refreshments, kids’ crafts, face painting and special deals.

The first 200 guests received a “Shop Small” tote bag filled with goodies.

As a “neighborhood champion” in the program, Rock said, the DDRA aims to get people shopping in Darlington through online promotion with its #ShopDarlington promotion and the event Thursday.

“In 2013, we had a Shop Darlington Challenge on Facebook, which expanded into the #ShopDarlington contest last year,” Rock said. “I want to keep Darlington moving forward, and the more we can get our local businesses in front of people, the better.”

The DDRA will hold a contest to encourage people to shop in Darlington this holiday season by giving them a chance to win one of three $100 fuel cards.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shop at five different Darlington businesses; mail the DDRA copies of your receipts with an entry form and then you will be entered into the drawing.

Downtown Darlington will ring in the Christmas season at 4 p.m. Sunday with its annual Christmas Parade, which will begin at Fitness World Gyms on Pearl Street and head into downtown.

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