Think small, stay bright: Small Business Saturday, Parade of Lights aim to draw shoppers to downtown Craig |

Think small, stay bright: Small Business Saturday, Parade of Lights aim to draw shoppers to downtown Craig

Holiday-themed items are among the offerings at Moffat Mercantile.
Andy Bockelman

Big things are going down this weekend in downtown Craig.

Craig’s kickoff to Christmas gets going Saturday with the daylight hours devoted to the Small Business Saturday shopping effort, followed by a bright beginning to the holidays with the Parade of Lights after sundown.

Locally owned businesses are aiming for customers to think small and support their community in a big way as part of Small Business Saturday, as Downtown Business Association prepares for foot traffic along Yampa Avenue.

Communities across the country

Small Business Saturday is celebrating its 10th year in existence. American Express first began pushing the local shopping initiative in 2010 to complement Christmas shopping’s Black Friday, which is dominated by big-name retailers.

The credit provider estimates that, based on consumer surveys for Small Business Saturday, $103 billion has been spent in the past decade as part of the effort, with about 67 cents per dollar spent benefitting communities on a local level.

“We all have favorite small businesses we can’t imagine living without. However, fewer small businesses are opening and staying open. To be successful requires an abundance of grit, passion and determination,” states AmEx’s Small Business Saturday website.

A variety of goods make up the shelves of Community Budget Center.
Andy Bockelman

Keep it local

For Craig, Downtown Business Association has been a regular promoter of the program’s message of keeping money local.

DBA will feature a free progressive breakfast for shoppers starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, with multiple businesses providing tasty morning foods as people peruse their inventory.

Among the shops that will be stops along the breakfast path are Downtown Books, Community Budget Center, The Find, Moffat Mercantile, KS Kreations, Kitchen a La More, Kester Jewelry, Sun Drop Custom Framing, Bargain Barn, and Articulture.

The former PackCenter Shipping will also be open under new ownership as Northwest Pack & Ship as well as The Flower Mine and Black Mountain Trading Post. 

“Each place will have something new and wonderful,” said Karen Brown, with DBA and Community Budget Center.

The Budget Center will feature servings of yogurt, she added.

“Something that’s portable and easy that you don’t have to keep warm,” she laughed. “There’s a lot of new businesses, a lot of fun.”

Moffat Mercantile owner Tammy Villard said she will offer bacon on a stick at her store.

Villard will also be among business owners that will provide Christmas cards dedicated to soldiers overseas, allowing customers to put together their own message of thanks to the military, which will be sent off in time for the troops to read them during the yuletide.

With a variety of products on the sales floor at Moffat Mercantile — ranging from personal care goods to apparel to decorative pieces — Villard said her main draw will be offering shoppers a gift with purchases $75 or more.

After opening in late September, Villard said she’s come to embrace the idea of shopping locally all the more.

“I appreciate being able to get a good deal on Black Friday, but I like that there’s something for the small people too,” she said. “It supports your community, keeps businesses going and thriving, and the more people can support the better your local community is, truly. I take the money I make here, I buy groceries, I buy gas, I go to the feed store, I hit local shops, and we try to do the same thing to keep it local.”

The holiday banner in Alice Pleasant Park welcomes locals and visitors to downtown Craig.
Andy Bockelman

Light up the night

Following the shopping spree, the streets will be filled Saturday night with DBA’s Parade of Lights, starting at 6 p.m.

The procession begins in the Craig Middle School parking lot before heading south along Yampa Avenue and onto Victory Way.

A variety of business, organizations, and first responder agencies will be on the move as part of the parade, including Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Besides Yampa Valley Electric Association’s award for the best use of lights, with at least 18 floats among the entries, Brown said organizers will judge the top entries before the event starts.

“The winner will have the trophy right on their float,” she said.

Brown sees the Parade of Lights as going hand in hand with an effort like Small Business Saturday, both of which allow community members to come together and support what makes Craig what it is.

“You can support the big box stores, but there’s a lot more unique things downtown with the local businesses,” she said.

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