What began as a push by American Express to encourage consumers to shop small during the holiday season has grown to become a national phenomenon. Downtown Milford shops benefitted from Small Business Saturday as shoppers visited stores as part of the many festivities planned on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“We are so excited to see all these people downtown,” Janne Collins, Executive Director of Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) said. “People are shopping, whether it is purchasing gifts in the unique retail stores we have downtown or grabbing a drink or food in our outstanding eating establishments. We love to see downtown bustling like it is today.”
The day began with an Elf Parade to the center of town to await the arrival of Santa who rode to his Walnut Street house on Carlisle Fire Company’s antique fire engine, getting to there around 11:15 AM. He was greeted by the many elves as well as Jingles the Elf who kept the crowd cheering until he arrived.
“We had a few new businesses for people to visit this year,” Collins said. “The Farmacy, a joint venture between the Shupe and Helmick family, offers food sourced from local farmers, including meats, produce and seafood. At 1 PM, we held a ribbon cutting for the Village and Venue, a café that has opened in the former Keir building. They offer fresh fruit smoothies, house-made waffles and paninis, soups and acai bowls. They also have an event space available for rent.”
Visitors to downtown could hear holiday tunes played by “The Leftovers,” an acoustic duo who performed outside the Santa House until 4 PM. Many people enjoyed the discounts they found in the stores downtown while others simply enjoyed hot coffee or lunch while they were there.
“Yesterday, we went to the mall to do some shopping,” Carolyn Asher, who is from Felton, said. “Today, we decided to come down to Milford and see what the stores here had to offer. We were very pleasantly surprised, and I was able to mark some things off my gift list.”
Small Business Saturday began in 2010 when American Express developed the idea to promote holiday shopping in small businesses. Since its inception, consumers have spent an estimated $163 billion at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It has grown into a year round movement, Shop Small, that encourages supporting small businesses around the world.
The day culminated with the City of Milford’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Milford Central Academy Chorus performed on the steps of City Hall while Santa and Jingles wandered through the crowd. At around 6 PM, the lights in front of City Hall were illuminated as the crowd cheered.
The season celebration downtown continues on Saturday, December 2 with the Holiday Stroll from 4 to 8 PM.
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