Thanksgiving revelers in Wyoming should head downtown Nov. 25 where local business boosters across the state are planning some fantastic parties to jumpstart the holiday shopping season.
Fireworks, music, parades, food and drinks, art, scavenger hunts, prizes, bonfires, some early appearances by Santa Claus and, of course, some great deals on local goods are coming to a commercial district near you.
There are about 64,700 small businesses in Wyoming, according to the Small Business Administration. Chambers of Commerce and National Main Street Center members around the state are celebrating those entrepreneurs and their contributions to Wyoming’s economy Nov. 25 during Small Business Saturday.
American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 to support shopping locally. Since then, communities in all 50 states have participated.
Glenrock, Laramie, Newcastle, Evanston, Rawlins, Buffalo, Green River, Rock Springs, Kemmerer, Cheyenne, Sundance, Thermopolis, all of Platte County, Basin, Cody, Lovell, Powell, Worland and Gillette are among the many Wyoming communities holding special promotions to encourage shoppers to keep local stores front of mind.
The Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development agency, supports local businesses in various ways.
The Business Council funds the University of Wyoming’s Business Resource Network, which offers services ranging from market research and business planning to manufacturing assistance and startup resources.
The agency also helps Wyoming businesses expand markets through the Grown in Wyoming and Made in Wyoming programs. Made in Wyoming is a great resource to find unique gift items for family and friends. There are more than 275 Made in Wyoming members creating products in Wyoming such as jams and jellies, seasonings, jewelry, apparel, home décor, fashion accessories, sporting goods, confections, children’s books, books about Wyoming and much more. Visit madeinwyoming.org for your local gift shopping.
Many communities have joined the Business Council’s Wyoming Main Street program, where they can receive technical assistance, expert support and financing for downtown projects.
Read below to find out how your community is supporting shopping locally this holiday season. These are just some of the many events happening across Wyoming, and consist of responses to a Business Council inquiry to Chambers of Commerce, Main Street programs and the agency’s regional directors.
Downtown shoppers can bring their Small Business Saturday receipts to the Chamber of Commerce to be entered into a drawing for $50 in Lilac Loot. The Basin Republican Rustler will provide participating advertisers with items to market their businesses for Small Business Saturday. Basin will also hold a Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Basin City Arts Center and the fairgrounds.
The Buffalo Downtown Association will host its annual “Light Up Buffalo!” event on Small Business Saturday. The organization serves hot drinks, raffles off prizes and provides a free fireworks show in the downtown square.
The Casper Area Chamber of Commerce and various private sponsors are promoting the second annual “Put Your $ Where Your Heart Is” Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. The campaign promotes Shop Local, Save Money and Support For a full list of participating merchants and valuable coupons, go to http://casperwyoming.org/news/2017/put-your-where-your-is.
The second annual Atlas Holiday Mart featuring local artists will be held at the Atlas Theatre, and the Artists of Cheyenne will hold a scavenger hunt with prizes for downtown shoppers.
The Cody Cowboy Christmas Stroll gears up at 4 p.m. on Small Business Saturday. There will be carolers, shopping cart races, warming barrels with s’mores, a silent Christmas stocking auction, the Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor Advent service and a lighted Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. The Grinch will make an appearance at Bell Plaza, and Santa will open his house for children to visit. Local nonprofits will also be downtown offering crafts and activities.
Evanston Urban Renewal Agency will hand out $5 in Main Street Cash the week of Small Business Saturday - redeemable on Nov. 25. Every purchase made on Small Business Saturday at participating merchants will be good for an entry into a drawing for more Main Street Cash.
Gillette Main Street is selling buttons to shoppers Nov. 18 through Dec. 1. Winners will receive prizes valued at $50 during drawings on Small Business Saturday and Dec. 2.
Prizes for receipts turned in Nov. 24-26. Glen“ROCKS” gift certificates and prizes donated by local retailers available.
Kemmerer Main Street will promote Small Business Saturday with a hot beverage station for shoppers in the downtown district.
Check out the Laramie Boomerang’s shopping guide to see the 80-plus businesses participating in Small Business Saturday. Participating businesses will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Blue Federal Credit Union will start the morning with a breakfast, and shoppers will be treated to an evening of food trucks, hot drinks and carolers around the First Street Plaza firepit. Bank of the West will host a pop-up expo featuring 10 local small businesses, artists and makers.
Lovell held its Main Street Mingle Nov. 18. Participants enjoyed the Polar Express, Jingle Jog, food truck vendors, a visit from Santa at the Fire Hall, the Parade of Lights, the tree lighting, a Chamber Bucks drawing and Small Business Saturday specials. Participants also voted for their favorite downtown store window displays.
Platte County Chamber of Commerce is placing half-page ads in local publications featuring businesses that offer special promotions and products, free giveaways and extended hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Small Business Saturday. Shoppers can participate in a selfie contest and be entered to win prizes.
The Soroptimist of Powell Creative Craft Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Small Business Saturday at the Park County Fairgrounds.
Small Business Saturday begins with a breakfast provided by the VFW. The popular selfie contest is also back. The winner will receive $100 in Main Street Money.
Rock Springs shoppers will be treated to carriage rides beginning on Small Business Saturday and stretching through Dec. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday. Santa will also be available in the Rock Springs Historical Museum during those hours. The first 150 shoppers through the museum on Nov. 25 will receive a free prize and a chance to win a $100 Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate. The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency will also offer free gift wrapping at the Coal Train Coffee Depot for any downtown purchases. Other holiday events include the annual showing of “The Polar Express” on Dec. 1-2 at the Broadway Theater and the annual lighted holiday parade Dec. 2. The Bar J Wranglers will present a Christmas show at the Broadway Theater on Dec. 8 and a new event, Living Windows, will draw shoppers downtown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 9.
The Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce is selling Reverse Drawing tickets for a $1,000 raffle. In addition, any purchase of $20 or more at local businesses between Dec. 1-19 enters a shopper into a prize drawing.
Sheridan will hold its 22nd Annual Sheridan Christmas Stroll from 4 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 24. Shoppers can buy Stroll buttons with unique numbers. They can then visit participating businesses in search of their number. If they find a match, they can win a prize from the store valued at $50 or more. If a Chamber of Commerce volunteer catches someone shopping with their stroll button on this holiday season, the shopper can win Chamber Bucks.
Shoppers in Sublette County can participate in a Poker Run on Small Business Saturday. There will be prizes and a party with refreshments at Jak’s.
Sundance Downtown Association will celebrate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a punch card promotion and a selfie contest.
Thermopolis shoppers are encouraged to participate in the downtown scavenger hunt and selfie contest. Participants will be entered into a prize drawing.
Goshen County Economic Development Corporation is promoting Small Business Saturday with videos and providing businesses with marketing materials.
Worland is holding the Pinnacle Bank Festival of Trees on Dec. 1-2 and the Parade of Lights at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.
About the Wyoming Business Council: Our mission is to increase Wyoming’s prosperity. We envision a Wyoming where industries are strong, diverse and expanding. Small business is a big deal. Communities have the highest quality of life. Wyoming is the technology center of the High Plains. Wyoming knows no boundaries. Please go to www.wyomingbusiness.org for more information.