I Love Local shopping campaign extended

I Love Local shopping campaign extended
Vivian and Chris Miller of Coke Plant Antiques show off their I Love Local spirit. The Mexico antique store is a Shop Hop participant. [Submitted photo.]
By: 
Dave Faries
Editor

So far the month has been a bit like Groundhog Day before Bill Murray learns to cherish the moment. Classes have been canceled, repeatedly. Games and events have been postponed, and postponed again.

Trudging out to protect newborn livestock goes on day after day.

But there is now officially one good thing about this particular February.

The Village Square Association and the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce decided to extend the I Love Local shopping promotion that would have ended today. People now have until Feb. 27 to purchase items at participating shops and restaurants, earning stamps toward the grand prize.

“We’ve never done anything that extended this long,” said Dana Keller, Chamber director. “This basically gives people most of the month.”

The Shop Hop, as it is styled, was originally scheduled to run from Feb. 8 through Feb. 20, with Valentine’s Day as a kind of centerpiece. Blossoms & Blooms Florist is a participant. Kate’s Hallmark saw good business, as has Melody’s Quality Jewelry.

But the bitter chill and bouts of snow have also kept some potential shoppers huddled up at home.

“We were thinking February is already slower, but that’s OK,” said April Thomas, president of the Village Square Association and owner of the clothing boutique The Sparkly Pig. “The event has brought some cheer.”

By adding seven days to the event, the organizers hope to take advantage of next week’s more favorable weather forecast. They also want to prevent participating shoppers who may have one or two more stamps to collect from risking snow packed roads.

The concept of the event is familiar. People pick up a Shop Hop card from participating businesses. Make a purchase and the shopper receives a stamp. Fill the card and drop it off at the Chamber for a chance at the grand prize, described as a “bag filled with goodies.”

There are also raffles at each store for other prizes.

Seventeen businesses are participating in the I Love Local Shop Hop. There are antiques, a flowers, jewelry, clothing, furniture, food and more on the shopping list.

“Really, it’s going much better than expected,” Keller said, citing the unbearable temperatures. “A lot of stores are reporting great weeks.”

February is notoriously slow for retail operations. In 2009 the U.S. Commerce Department recorded a 2 percent slump in sales. In 2015 harsh weather was blamed when sales sagged 0.6 percent. In 2017 only four of 13 major retail sectors saw any kind of growth.

And as we all remember, February of 2020 is when the COVID-19 pandemic first began stalking the economy.

Thomas reports that some variation of February promotion will continue for downtown Mexico businesses.

“We will see how customers respond and go from there,” she said.

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