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Shopping small has big impact
Cossitts Andrews Dowdy - FAVORITE.jpg
Downtown stores attracted the attention of visitors from other states on Saturday. Cindy Cossitt and her family from northern Mississippi were visiting Meredith Cossitt and her daughters but found themselves downtown supporting local businesses. Pictured, front row, from left, are Georgia Cossitt, June Cossitt and Ellie Andrews. Back row, Meredith Cossitt, Brian Dowdy holding daughter Dani Dowdy, Cecily Dowdy and Cindy Cossitt. - photo by Nikki Childers

Small Business Saturday was off to a busy start for downtown McMinnville over the weekend.

The shopping holiday aims to help bolster sales for locally owned businesses by urging shoppers to support the stores owned by members of their communities before turning to corporate giants like Walmart, Amazon and other big-box stores during the Christmas season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on small local businesses across the country and the healthy turnout for the first weekend proved a welcome sight for business owners. Many businesses were forced to temporarily shut their doors and operate on a more digital mode due to government restrictions earlier this year. 

Stores and restaurants downtown were bustling with activity on Saturday as patrons went from one shop to another to peruse the items locally owned businesses had to offer. Some worked on fulfilling their Christmas shopping needs, while others used the opportunity to treat themselves with some goodies. 

“I’m shopping for a little of both,” said Shannon Vandagriff at Evelyn Taylor Avenue as she browsed through shelves and displays full of ornately designed dishes and beauty products.

Employees worked tirelessly to tend to the crowds of shoppers. Manager Jackie Brown of Evelyn Taylor Avenue was no exception. 

“We were super busy Friday and Saturday, even Monday was busy,” Brown said. “This weekend was better than our Small Business Saturday of last year and we are really excited and surprised about that. People from surrounding counties have been coming in to shop with us too.” Like many of the downtown stores, they offered tempting discounts on their merchandise and the public responded with fervor.

Gifts were not the only thing on everyone’s mind, however. Many stopped in at Vanilla Bean Baking Company to take a break from their shopping endeavors and enjoyed flavored coffees, teas and various confections. Barista Sara Blevins was thrilled with the crowds and remarked, “It’s been very busy this weekend. I love it though because I get to see all the people and it keeps us busy.”

Main Street McMinnville is extending the Small Business Saturday enthusiasm until Dec. 23 with its Shop Small bingo cards. Participants can pick up the bingo cards from the Little Lending Library located on Court Square, or they can download it online at www.mainstreetmcminnville.org/2020-small-biz-saturday. 

Once you have bingo, you can then turn these cards into Community Development at City Hall or take a picture of both sides and email them to mainstmcminn@blomand.net.