Mendocino Coast Chamber Offers a New Spin on Shop Small Saturday: #ShopTinyBoxFortBragg and #ShopTinyBoxMendocino Aims to Keep Shoppers Enjoying Small Town Businesses

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The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce in northern California is putting a new spin on the nationwide Shop Small Saturday Campaign sponsored by American Express. Their theme this year, #ShopTinyBoxFortBragg and #ShopTinyBoxMendocino, "We're a Jewel of a Town," aims to keep shoppers away from big box stores and steer them into a variety of small shops and boutiques in both Fort Bragg and Mendocino.

Shop Small Fort Bragg CA

Shop Small at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

"I love any occasion that brings our community together and enables merchants to interact with locals and tourists and have fun getting to know each other better."

The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce in northern California is putting a new spin on the nationwide Shop Small Saturday Campaign sponsored by American Express. Their theme this year, #ShopTinyBoxFortBragg and #ShopTinyBoxMendocino, "We're a Jewel of a Town," aims to keep shoppers away from big box stores and steer them into a variety of small shops and boutiques in both Fort Bragg and Mendocino.

Two Welcome Centers will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 26: Town Hall in Fort Bragg and Harvest Market in Mendocino, where shoppers can find a free shopping bag and a map to all of the participating merchants, enjoy refreshments, and snap photos with the elves just for fun. They'll then hit the streets to collect #ShopTinyBox cards from merchants and enter to win an Epic Gift Basket with prizes donated by participating stores. Participating businesses will hand out cards to anyone who enters their door on Saturday, November 26 (the more businesses cards shoppers collect, the more times they can enter to win the Epic Gift Basket). If customers make a purchase, they will also receive a signature Shop Small "tiny box" with a discount coupon inside to encourage holiday shoppers to return to the store after the Shop Small Saturday event instead of driving inland to larger shopping malls. Prizes like spa treatments, a six-month chamber membership, and dinner for two at a local restaurant will be provided to participating merchants, too.

Local merchant Monica Mankinen is an enthusiastic supporter of Shop Small Saturday. "I love any occasion that brings our community together and enables merchants to interact with locals and tourists and have fun getting to know each other better."

Publicity for the campaign will include photos and videos of participating merchants with the #ShopTinyBox hashtag on the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce and Visit Fort Bragg Facebook and Instagram platforms. The Facebook campaign will be a "Love It" campaign. Instead of asking people to "like" a photo or video, they will be encouraged to press the "love it" button. The Chamber of Commerce offered a special 12 @ 12 lunch hour educational event on November 18 for local merchants to learn how to promote the event on Instagram.

Merchants are also encouraged to take photos of key items they are promoting and post them on Instagram and Facebook with the campaign hashtags. Although the event is sponsored by the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce and American Express, the promotion is open to all small businesses in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, even non-chamber members. Businesses are not required to take American Express cards, either. It's an event that focuses on keeping both locals and visitors away from big box stores, and enjoying all the benefits of small town shopping: no traffic, no malls, and small shops that get to know their customers and provide excellent service with a friendly "home town" feeling.

The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce serves the Mendocino Coast from Westport to Gualala, CA. Their Mission Statement is: To promote, support and improve the business and economic climate within its citizenry, and encourage a stronger sense of community.

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Sharon Davis

Kristin Suratt
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