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Chamber of commerce officials across Story County are encouraging shoppers to stick close to home this weekend and enjoy the sales and promotions going on for Small Business Saturday.
“We really encourage everyone to shop local and shop Story County,” said Sarah Dvorsky, events coordinator for the Ames Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a really great opportunity for our community to see what’s going on downtown and see what great businesses we have.”
Small Business Saturday is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Dvorsky said there will be many downtown Ames stores that will be having special sales, and shoppers can find out about those promotions at amesdowntown.org.
She said it’s an opportunity to support local small businesses, many of which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
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Shoppers should follow mask-wearing and social distancing protocols, she said.
Ames Main Street is offering free parking during Small Business Saturday. A limited supply of goodie bags from the Chamber will be available at participating stores while supplies last.
Several of the Main Street businesses offer online and phone purchases, and some even have curbside delivery. Dvorsky encouraged shoppers to check directly with stores about those services.
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“A lot of our businesses are starting out on Friday, so it’s becoming a two-day thing here in Nevada,” said Henry Corbin, executive director of Main Street Nevada.
A couple of the businesses are holding big sales on Friday, he said, including Ben Franklin’s “famous bag sale.” Unique Boutique is also starting a sale on Friday.
“On Saturday, we’re hoping to have pretty much everyone open, including the bakery and all the stores,” Corbin said.
Shoppers will be able to find information about the promotions and businesses involved on the “Main Street Nevada, IA” Facebook page, he said. There will be a limited number of free “Shop Small” bags at the participating businesses.
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For Nevada shoppers, Small Business Saturday will also be an opportunity to see the major improvements that Sixth Street underwent in recent months, causing that street to be closed to traffic for an extended period of time.
“Supporting our small businesses is so important for us, as a community, especially this year,” Corbin said. “Between COVID and our construction, our businesses have persevered through a lot this year, so coming out and supporting them is a big thing.”
The Story City Greater Chamber Connection will be giving out “Shop Small” bags stuffed with promotional items from local retailers and restaurants starting Saturday at 9 a.m.
The bags will be available at the GCC office, 524 Broad St., until they’re gone.
“Our theme for Yulefest this year is ‘I’ll be Gnome for the Holidays,’ so many shops and business windows will have some gnome-related decoration or display – even gnomes available to purchase,” said Jay Wilson, director of the Story City GCC.
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There will be a promotion on Story City Cash from 9 a.m. until it’s sold out. With the purchase of $20 in Story City Cash, the buyer will receive an extra $10 of the local currency.
Instead of in-person crafts for the kids, this year parents can pick up take-and-make crafts from the GCC office from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
As part of the Yulefest celebration, the GCC is hosting the Christmas movie classic “Home Alone” at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Story Theater on Broad Street. For ticket details visit the GCC’s Facebook page; seats are limited to 100 people.