Make sure to shop local for the holidays | SierraSun.com

Make sure to shop local for the holidays

Saturday, Nov. 25 is Small Business Saturday, a campaign initiated by American Express in 2010 as a way to support local economies.

The goal is to encourage people to spend their dollars within the communities in which they reside as opposed to shopping in a larger city.

"I believe the vision behind Small Business Saturday is to promote local businesses in all communities," said Cassie Hebel, executive director of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association.

Black Friday is a typical time to kick off the holiday shopping season. This year, however, Hebel encourages people to head out the following day and see just how many of the items on their shopping list they can find right here around the lake.

"Around the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee area we have unique, locally owned businesses with artisan work being sold. You can get Tahoe-Truckee specific gifts that you can't get elsewhere — and these aren't knick-knacks, they're true pieces of art. You can find all kinds of gifts in Truckee, from housewares to women and men's clothing, sporting goods, even toys. Truckee's variety offers unique gifts you won't necessarily find at Toys R Us," she said.

After Saturday's regional event, shoppers can earn rewards on their holiday spending through the Show Your Love – Shop Local contest hosted throughout North Lake communities.

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Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, shoppers can pick up a contest card at participating retailers in Tahoe City, West Shore, Kings Beach, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Incline Village, and Truckee.

For every $25 spent, shoppers will receive one sticker. After collecting at least four stickers at any participating business, shoppers can turn their cards in to be entered into a drawing to win a North Lake Tahoe vacation valued at more than $2,000 and a drawing for a $500 cash prize.

"Show Your Love – Shop Local starts this Friday and goes until Christmas Eve so come on out locals and visitors, spend dollars locally, get to know the people in your community and buy some really great gifts. Every $25 purchase you're in for a raffle prize, a staycation so to speak, and it's all about supporting the regional communities, which is key to our economic development," Hebel said.

She added that there's a special sense of pride in purchasing something that you support, from an artisan who put time into crafting it.

"There's nothing better than going into a mom-and-pop store, meeting people and having a great conversation, and walking out with something you feel so good about buying. You're not going to get lost in the crowd here, Truckee is such a welcoming and friendly place," Hebel said.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.