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Businesses: Shop at home

In an effort to encourage shopping locally during the upcoming holiday season, the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, Phi Theta Kappa members from Jefferson Davis Community College and area merchants are teaming up to create a series of events showcasing area businesses with holiday offerings.

A holiday kickoff will be held downtown from Nov. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. at participating merchants. For those with small children, baby sitting services will be provided by PTK in The Ritz during event hours only.

Judy Crane, chamber executive director, said the events planned will benefit merchants, shoppers and residents of the communities involved.

“We are forming a team that will once again continue an annual tradition by promoting a Brewton/East Brewton community-wide Holiday Kickoff preview event for the holiday shopping season,” Crane said. “We want shoppers to shop in their own town, instead of going somewhere else. This way the local businesses will get the sales while the city will get the taxes, thereby helping the economy in our own area.”

Thad Evans, president of the JDCC PTK organization, said the group’s participation is a continuation of a project to help showcase services and items available locally.

“We have been contacting businesses all across the area to help with the planning of the holiday event,” Evans said. “This is continuing our project to help shoppers in the area to remember to shop and buy locally.”

Evens said PTK members have been in contact with participating merchants to offer any assistance needed as part of their “Buy Local, Buy Brewton” initiative.

“Our project is centered around the idea of helping merchants make the public aware of the services and items they offer right here at home,” Evans said. “We want to promote our local businesses and help them get the word out. Basically, anything PTK can do to help a business owner with displays or other assistance in preparation for the upcoming event, we are ready and willing to do.”

Events are planned throughout the Brewton and East Brewton area on Thursdays beginning Nov. 18 through Dec. 11 with the presentation of the area wide Christmas Parade.

An invitation to participate in the events has been issued to all area merchants with several already making a commitment to have special presentations or sales during the pre-holiday event.

Michele Hart, Chamber executive assistant, said more than 20 merchants are already planning to participate in the event.

“We have some businesses that are planning to try to set up for Nov. 18, Dec. 2, and Dec. 9,” Hart said. “So far, we have 22 businesses who have committed to be a part of the events. We still have time to include other businesses for the event.”

Hart said any business who has not notified the Chamber of their participation is encouraged to sign up.

“Any business that wants to participate is welcome,” Hart said. “We are putting out information to as many people as possible about which businesses are participating and what they are offering. To be included in that information businesses need to give us a call and we’ll be glad to include them.”

In addition to extended hours on special days, merchants will also be contributing to a fund that will give one lucky winner a big holiday gift, Hart said.

“Beginning Nov. 18, merchants will be staying open later to give every one a chance to shop,” Hart said. “Special punch cards will be available to the shoppers during that time. Shoppers may pick up a card at any participating retailer or restaurant and get the card punched. The requirement is to spend $25 at four different locations to get the card completely punch. Punch cards will then be entered into a drawing to be held Dec. 11. We are hoping to have a $500 gift certificate to give away if we have enough participating merchants.”

To learn more about the PTK’s “Buy Brewton, Buy Local” project, join their Facebook group by searching “Buy Brewton, Buy Local.”

For details on joining merchants in the downtown holiday event, contact the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce at 867-3224.