‘Shopping Local Pays’ at Columbiana Merchants

COLUMBIANA, Ohio – On the heels of its November effort to encourage residents to shop at stores here, the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce is launching a monthly program to encourage them to patronize those same businesses.

The new “Shopping Local Pays” program is intended to encourage customers to hold on to their receipts – except grocery stores and service stations –within the 44408 ZIP code. Upon savings receipts that total $100, they can turn them into the chamber office. Each month, the chamber will draw a winner from those entries who gets a $25 gift card from a chamber merchant.

“So many small-town shopping districts are dying and we want to do everything that we can to help sustain and promote our small-town shopping districts,” said Ginny Perkins, president of the Columbiana Area Chamber and owner of EZ Doh, which manufactures and sells handheld manual bread-dough makers.

The promotion is “a combination of some ideas” that Perkins says she saw online. “I thought this could work and is a nice follow-up” to the ‘Shop Local, Win Big’ promotion.”

During that campaign, held in conjunction with the nationwide Small Business Saturday in late November, shoppers were encouraged to collect and submit receipts to the chamber, the winner determined by the largest number of businesses patronized in the 44408 ZIP code.

About 25 entries were submitted.

“We didn’t do badly,” Perkins recalled Thursday. “Merchants were excited and promoted it for us, which we appreciated. … We didn’t have a huge response. We would have liked to have seen it bigger.”

As it did for Small Business Saturday, the chamber will purchase the prizes.

Several downtown merchants who say they benefited from the November promotion are optimistic that they will do so again.

“It gets people to come to the store to see what you have,” said Betty Lucas, owner of the Shop on Main, which sells handcrafted items.

“The people really enjoyed coming and getting something more for their money besides just shopping in the stores,” said Linda Seidner, manager of Vivian’s Antiques and Collectibles. Vivian’s opened in 1979 and she has been with the store 24 years.

Even though shopping online is popular, people “want to shop locally and not go far away and look for things,” Seidner said.

Amanda Bolen, who owns Amanda’s Candy Cottage Gifts and Flowers, was in the process Thursday of relocating her store from a nearby plaza to a larger storefront on South Main Street that will give her greater visibility.

Amanda’s Candy Cottage, which opened Sept. 9, has grown “very rapidly,” Bolen said. A former florist, she is eager to add floral services to the mix of nostalgia candies she offers when it opens Monday.

Shop Small, Win Big “brought a lot of people into the area shops,” she said, and Bolen’s store was among the beneficiaries. The new initiative is “a great idea,” she added.

“It’s going to bring more people into Columbiana. It’s going to give the area vendors and shop owners a chance to get different crowds in here because everybody wants to win something,” Bolen said.

All Good Things Natural Market, which moved from Washingtonville in October, had opened in Columbiana only a few weeks before the Shop Small, Win Big campaign launched in November. “A lot of people mentioned it when they came in,” owner Quinn Colella said.

“It’s awesome,” Quinn said of the initiative. “Anything to get people to shop local is a plus.”

Pictured: Ginny Perkins, president of the Columbiana Area Chamber.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.