The way people shop and buy is changing.
Businesses are making adjustments as holiday shoppers turn online and avoid the hassle of crowded stores. With Watertown becoming a hotspot for storefront appeal, communities and businesses are finding creative and fun ways to bring those vacation shoppers to small stores.
Events like the Small Business Saturday Help this weekend.
Dustin Sinner Fine Art is one of the small businesses in Watertown that has found ways to involve both shoppers and other downtown stores. Missy Sinner and her husband Dustin have been in business for just over a year. Their business was born during a pandemic, but the art and clothing store has seen a constant flow of customers and enjoyed a profitable holiday season in 2020.
âThe key for us is to get people to come downtown and spend locally by just giving them a reason to come here,â said Missy Sinner.
She said the city center is better off when businesses participate in sales events together. Attracting a crowd in the city center means that there is a good chance that shoppers will stop by several stores. To help encourage this, she has been busy trying to create events that her neighbors can attend as well.
One of the ways she’s done this is by presenting Plaid Saturday. The event took place last weekend and customers were encouraged to visit participating stores wearing tiles for discounts.
This weekend, she will have live radio hosts on hand to help promote her shop and Small Business Saturday.
âThe key for us is to get people to come downtown and spend locally by giving them a reason to come here,â she said.
Watertown Town Center Coordinator
The Watertown Development Co. is in the process of creating a downtown coordinator role. What the work will involve is not yet public as the organization is still in the process of finalizing the position. But Sinner hopes it will help local stores be on the same page when it comes to advertising and events.
âThere is a great need to have a person to organize events downtown. We need to have a point of contact and a place where community members can go to find out what’s going on downtown, âSinner said. âI think we don’t communicate and team up as well as we could be because we are all so focused on running our businesses. We each do different sales and events independently to the best of our ability. . “
Sinner tried to fill the role by sending Facebook messages to other businesses in the area and getting more involved with Plaid Saturday and other unique business events.
âEverything we business owners have done to organize events has been volunteer work,â said Sinner. âWe try to get everyone involved in Plaid Saturday and other events. I posted a post on our business owner’s Facebook group inviting them all to join in and letting them know we were doing things. discounts if customers wear plaid. “
Twenty local businesses participated this year, and Sinner saw proof that the holiday shopping season was shifting into high gear.
âThe fourth quarter, for any retail business, is the most important,â Sinner said. âWe’re all excited for the holiday shopping. The decorations are out, Christmas music is playing and there is a magical Christmas vibe running through downtown. More and more people are coming to benefit from this experience. “
The Chamber of Commerce helps awaken the Christmas spirit
The Watertown Chamber of Commerce has helped create some of that Christmas magic while finding fun and creative ways to bring business to local stores during the holiday season.
The Twinkling Lights and Frosty Nights is a Christmas lights contest that started on Friday and will run until December 27. Homes and businesses can participate in the competition.
Competitors are numbered and marked on a digital map that tourists can use to watch the show across town. The winners will be announced January 4 at noon on the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
To enter the Holiday Lights Contest, visit http://www.watertownsd.com/twinkling-lights-and-frosty-nights.
Another way the chamber helps businesses in the area is through the Hometown Holidays promotion. Until January 3, Hometown Holidays stamp cards can be picked up at the room office, 1 E. Kemp Ave, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Participating businesses will stamp the card when customers make a purchase. Stamps are received for every $ 10 spent. Once the card has 25 stamps, completed cards must be returned to the room by 4 p.m. on January 3.
Prize draws will be made via the Watertown Chamber’s Facebook page on January 4 at 1 p.m. Following the draw, the winners will be posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page and website, www.watertownsd.com.
âWe’re trying to build more of a family here downtown,â Sinner said. âWe depend on each other to attract customers. It is not just on the shoulders of one company to do all the marketing. We try to encourage personal marketing that benefits everyone around us and find different ways to work together. be a team effort to keep downtown busy.