River Cities Gazette

Miami Springs/Airport Area Chamber promotes "Hometown Holiday Shopping"

KEEPING IT LOCAL: Sofia Justo, 6, was helping mom, Claudia Lopez, with her shopping for a Thanksgiving turkey at Milam’s. The big push this year is for shoppers to support their local small businesses and this Saturday, Nov. 30 is now known as Small Business Saturday.
KEEPING IT LOCAL: Sofia Justo, 6, was helping mom, Claudia Lopez, with her shopping for a Thanksgiving turkey at Milam’s. The big push this year is for shoppers to support their local small businesses and this Saturday, Nov. 30 is now known as Small Business Saturday.
Gazette Photo/WALLY CLARK

River Cities Gazette

Members of the Miami Springs/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce were a busy group last week when they met for their monthly meeting.

Busier than normal because on the horizon, for the fourth consecutive year is the “Hometown Holiday Shopping” campaign.

In an effort to help local businesses help themselves, the Chamber, in cooperation with the local merchants, is once again encouraging everyone to “Shop Locally for the Best Bargains” and, to make it doubly worth your while, they have put together the “Hometown Holiday Shopping Month” with great prizes.

Beginning this Friday, Nov. 29 (Black Friday) through Sunday, Dec. 22, when you shop or buy a Gift Card at ANY business in Miami Springs or Virginia Gardens, the merchant will sign the back of a special card (available at Member businesses) to verify your purchase.

Anyone who makes 10 purchases to fill up their card up can then turn it in at Johnny’s Luncheonette on the Circle to be included in the prize drawings — 15 of them. And you can enter as many times as you wish – 10 purchases at a time.

If you are a business in the MS/VG area, Chamber officers Sherryl Bowein, Donna Wood-Beney and Adrian Melero likely will be making a trip to your establishment some time this week with 15 cards to hand out. You will then be asked to hand one over to your paying customers and encourage them to “fill it out” with local purchases.

The prizes to be won are no small-item door prizes, either. Included on the list, one could win a golf membership, a gym membership at the Community Center, Mp3 players, video cameras, dinners from many area restaurants, a one-year pass to the pool, local hotel “staycations,” manicures, pedicures, haircuts and much more.

The prizes will be awarded at Johnny’s Soda Fountain and Luncheonette on Sunday, Dec. 22 with a special prix fixe dinner starting at 5 p.m. followed by the drawing for the prizes at 7 p.m. (You must be present in order to win).

But that’s not all the Chamber is doing. This Saturday, Nov. 30 is another national campaign called “Small Business Saturday.”

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as consumers with an American Express credit card are being urged to “shop small” at small businesses — and Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens has plenty of those.

The MS/Airport Chamber set something up where anyone who buys anything this Saturday in conjunction with Small Business Saturday will go into a separate prize category for the Dec. 22 function at Johnny’s.

“It’s a terrific thing the Chamber is doing and I’m sure the rest of the small businesses in the community are most grateful for their efforts,” said Jorge Arias, owner of Pets Kingdom at 270 Westward Drive. “This is another opportunity for everyone to show support for our local businesses and urge everyone to come out.”

Speaking of Pets Kingdom, Arias and his group have a huge Black Friday promotion scheduled this week where everything in the store will be marked for 20 percent off, so if you need to stock up on pet food or pet supplies, Friday is your chance.

“From the Chamber’s perspective, obviously the hometown holiday shopping annual appeal to the community is to do as much as their holiday shopping as they can locally,” said Chamber president and former Miami Springs City Manager Jim Borgmann. “Because the holiday season is so important to all businesses, it’s especially important to those small businesses around our community and the country for that matter that may be the difference whether or not they can survive into the following year.”

Borgmann said that it works hand-in-hand as well as this campaign also raises the Chamber’s profile as well.

“No question that the Chamber has struggled over the past many years,” said Borgmann. “Certainly when it comes to a small downtown and business district, our Chamber wants to encourage more business owners to join up and, for that matter, membership is open to all residents regardless of whether they have a business or not.”

The Miami Springs Farmer’s Market, a weekly Saturday morning event in the center median just off the Circle, is getting in on the act as well.

There will be a special Holiday Arts and Crafts section set up the next two Saturdays, Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, and will feature local handmade crafts that would make wonderful unique gifts. Thanks to a generous donation from another local small business, Obellis Wood Floors, there will also be a Santa’s Workshop crafting station set up to entertain the children while you shop.

“This Saturday is a day we invite everyone in the community to come out and support our small businesses,” said Arias. “It should be a terrific day and a terrific three weeks leading up to the Dec. 22 event.”

Anyone who wishes to pick up a Holiday Hometown Shopping card may do so at member businesses: Johnny’s Luncheonette (45 Curtiss Pkwy.), Miami Accupuncture Therapy (1 Curtiss Pkwy., #6 in the Arcade), Miami Springs Sunoco (325 N. Royal Poinciana Blvd.), or the Community Center and “shop ‘til you drop.”

For more information, contact the Chamber at 305-508-8080 or e-mail msaacc@live.com.

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