UPDATE: Due to governor mandates, this event has been postponed.

With life so unsettled during COVID-19, we’re all looking for little normalcies and pick-me-ups that can be had while social distancing in quarantine. The rapid approach of the holidays is a perfect way to cheer up friends and family. Even if we can’t meet around the Thanksgiving turkey or under a sparkling Christmas tree, consider stocking up on special gifts by shopping small and staying local at the South Sound Holiday Dash. You just may win an extra holiday gift!

Shop local at the South Sound Holiday Dash then drop your completed maps at Becky Carver: Prime Lending to be entered into the prize pool. Photo courtesy: Lacey South Sound Chamber

The Dash is a first annual holiday event in conjunction with Small Business Saturday. Created by the Lacey South Sound Chamber, it runs from November 28 through December 12. Small businesses throughout the community are encouraged to sign up before Monday, November 16, to be included on the map of stores, coffee shops, restaurants and winter destinations. Enrollment is $100 for Chamber members and $150 for non-members. Simply call 360-491-4141 right away or to participate in next year’s fun.

“Shopping small makes a major economic impact in your community,” says the Chamber’s Executive Director Blake Knoblauch. “This is great way for consumers to shop local this holiday season and have the opportunity to win great prizes.”

Printed maps of participating stores will be distributed around town early Thanksgiving week and can also be viewed online. Simply shop at any of these locations during the event. When you spend $10 or more, you will get a stamp on your map. After visiting at least 10 locations, drop off your map at Melanie Bakala: State Farm, Becky Carver: Prime Lending or Keller Williams South Sound Realty. Shoppers can enter multiple times and prizes include gift cards, pizza parties and other fun rewards.

The City of Lacey’s dedication to its mom and pop shops is more than just lip service. In 2018 Mayor Andy Ryder signed an official proclamation dedicated to celebrating these gems. This honored the tireless work and dedication of regional entrepreneurs and closed by encouraging “citizens to support small businesses and merchants on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year.”

Keller Williams South Sound Realty is another of the three drop-off sponsors who encourages support of local restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops. Photo courtesy: Lacey South Sound Chamber

2020 is the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday’s nationwide campaign. Founders explain that it was started because “American Express cares deeply about thriving communities and believes small businesses are at the core of every successful neighborhood. That’s why—in the midst of the recession in 2010—we created Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.”

From recession to pandemic, times are often uncertain and even a little scary. But giving gifts to those who are important to us is always a good idea for both body and soul. Doctors from the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital explain that “It turns out that all sorts of studies, from social psychology to functional neuroimaging, present real and solid evidence for the benefits of giving gifts. In other words, we might rescue ourselves from the holiday blues if we stop to recognize all that the act of giving gifts can do for us.”

And keeping funds close to home is win/win. Industry experts explain “Data shows that local retailers return 52 percent of their revenue back into the local economy, compared to just 14 percent for national chain retailers. Money circulating through the local economy benefits everyone who is a part of each transaction…If every U.S. family spent an additional $10 per month at a local shop, the result would be an additional $9.3 billion directly returned to the local economy.”

The last drop-off Dash sponsor is Melanie Bakala: State Farm. Enter as often as you’d like between November 28 and December 12 for a chance to win. Photo courtesy: Lacey South Sound Chamber

Whatever your motivation—to cheer up a friend or be cheered up yourself—dig out a warm coat, splurge on your favorite winter beverage and enjoy a safely distanced, well masked afternoon out on the town.

“With the Dash we wanted to encourage folks to shop small, get out and stay local as well as let local businesses say, ‘We’re still here,’” says Knoblauch. Through activities like the South Sound Holiday Dash, you’ll say to the world “I’m still here too.”

Find the most current details, info on participating businesses and event specifics through the Chamber’s Facebook page or the Lacey South Sound Chamber website.

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