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Local small business event a big success

Jon Jaehnig/For the Mining Gazette This weekend’s Shop Small event, organized by the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, drew shoppers to many local businesses.

HOUGHTON – The Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce kicked off the holiday shopping season Saturday morning at its Houghton office.

The organization promised coffee, doughnuts and other “swag” as well as a prize raffle and a coupon book of holiday sales and greetings offered by local businesses. Candy, reusable shopping bags and “shop local” stickers were also available.

The event was scheduled to start at 9 a.m., but many shoppers arrived even earlier than that. Then, it was off to area businesses, many of which had their own sales and promotions.

“We were busy by 8:40. We’ve gone through over 120 coupon books and it’s only 10:30,” said Katie Schlief of the Chamber of Commerce. Schlief also reported that a “record-breaking” number of businesses from Houghton and Keweenaw Counties had submitted content for the coupon book. “We’re calling it a huge success for sure, and you can’t beat the weather.”

This is the third year that the Chamber of Commerce has held this event, which is part of “Small Business Saturday.” There are still people coming to the event for the first time.

Local shopper Debbie Talvensaari was attending the event for the first time after hearing about the coupon book on television. She also said that she was looking forward to the Biggby coffee that was provided before heading to main street shops.

The Copper Poppy, a clothing and home décor shop a few blocks from the Chamber of Commerce, is gearing up for a month of special sales and promotions. The last of which is the “Twelve Days of Christmas” sale, when a different category of item goes on sale on each of the twelve days before Christmas.

“Yesterday was a record-breaking sales day, and we’re hoping today is the same,” said the Copper Poppy’s Trudy Williamson. “People say we’re the hidden little gem here. We’ve only been open a year-and-a-half.”

“Small Business Saturday” is a national initiative started by American Express to promote holiday shopping at local establishments. The day, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, lands between Black Friday (which is a boon for big-box stores like Walmart) and Cyber Monday (which sees deals from online retailers like Amazon).

Shoppers who missed Small Business Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce might have missed free coffee and the coupon book but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to take advantage of holiday promotions at local businesses.

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