Local Businesses Plan Events to Entice Holiday Shoppers

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The Apple Tree, a part of the Oxford business scene for 39 years, is one of many local businesses that benefits from the Shop Small Saturday and other festive events uptown during the holiday season. Photo by Lauren Snyder

By Halie Barger and Lauren Snyder

Oxford wants you to get into the holiday—and shopping—spirit over the next two weekends with a variety of events, performances and celebrations all centered around the city’s uptown business district.

Things kick off on Saturday, Nov. 24, with Shop Small Saturday as Oxford participates in the national shop small/shop local movement that was boosted by American Express in 2010.

Shop Small is meant to be like Black Friday, but rather than go to a big box store or shop online, participants are encouraged to walk around Oxford on Saturday and support the local businesses, said Jessica Greene, executive director of Enjoy Oxford, the city’s visitors’ bureau.

Enjoy Oxford has launched a first-ever video on its Facebook page encouraging community members and visitors to support the businesses in uptown Oxford.

The video features the various businesses located in uptown Oxford inviting shoppers to visit them, keeping their establishments alive.

Encouraging Local Shopping Options

“I think the Shop Small movement reminds people that when you shop small, your money stays in your community,” Greene said. “It’s important to support your local businesses because it brings vibrancy to the town.”

The Apple Tree, a boutique established in uptown Oxford 39 years ago, has benefitted from Shop Small and other festive events put on by the city in past years.

“Shop Small has been a huge boost for us,” owner Cheri Corcoran said. “The local people come out and support us which is very nice.”

The Apple Tree has experienced sales growth because of Shop Small, and Corcoran said it feels as though the community surrounding Oxford comes together during this time. “We wouldn’t survive without our local customers,” Corcoran said.

Although students are on Thanksgiving break during this time, Greene has found they are still able to participate before they depart and do holiday shopping in Oxford between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. Residents, out-of-towners and people from neighboring communities are a huge part of this event, she said.

“It’s not just one day. This event reminds students and people to shop small and support our local community, and we hope that you keep that in mind during holiday shopping,” she said.

Along with the Shop Small event, the Oxford Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Enjoy Oxford to promote local businesses with other events.

A holiday walk-through of the local businesses starts at 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30.

In addition to being able to see what the businesses have on display, the event includes a tree decorating contest, refreshments, and live performances.

“It’s (the walk) great for economic development,” Greene said.

The Annual Holiday Festival

The day after the walk-through, Oxford will host its Holiday Festival on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The festival begins at 9 a.m. at the Oxford Community Arts Center. The Talawanda Band Boosters are hosting a craft market, there will be live performances from local musicians every hour and children can participate in crafts and other activities.

At 5 p.m., the festival moves to Uptown Park, where there will also be live musical performances from Miami University student groups.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for residents of the community and students to interact,” Greene said.

Participants also will be able to go ice skating on the ice rink Uptown, look at live reindeer or take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
At 6:30 p.m. Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive at the park on a fire truck to help Mayor Kate Rousmaniere, flip the switch and turn the Christmas lights on that illuminate the city of Oxford.

Children can get their pictures with Santa from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Enjoy Oxford, 14 W Park Place Suite C.

More information on the festival is available on the Enjoy Oxford Website.