The Brunswick Downtown Association’s annual tree lighting ceremony returns Nov. 30, and features a visit from Santa. Contributed photo via Brunswick Downtown Association

BRUNSWICK — Instead of rushing out to grab the best Black Friday deals or spending hours online combing through for the best Cyber Monday finds, Deborah King, executive director of the Brunswick Downtown Association hopes that people will look a little closer to home for their holiday shopping and head downtown for Small Business Saturday. 

“As part of the whole holiday season shopping or for Christmas gifts, pay special attention to the small retailer on the corner whose kid is in the local schools and who shops in our community as well,” she said. 

Now in its tenth year, Small Business Saturday is a national movement started by the credit card company American Express to encourage holiday shoppers to visit local, brick and mortar businesses and act as a counterpart to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals primarily offered by box stores and retail giants. 

According to American Express, for every dollar spent at a small business, approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. 

Over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has reached an estimate of $103 billion.

Small businesses play a huge role in the community, King said, and often sponsor a baseball team, donate food for an event, contribute for an auction or raffle.

“They depend on the community and the community depends on them,” she said. 

Many of the downtown businesses will be offering special promotions. According to the downtown association’s website, among others, Wyler’s will offer free coffee and Holy Donut treats to kick off the day, followed by “free swag bags,” $100 gift card raffle and free gift wrapping. 

Woods and Waters Gear Exchange will have cookies, eggnog and a free NapSak air chair with a purchase of $75 or more.

Hatch on Maine is offering a free mantra bracelet to the first 100 customers to spend $25 or more and Bangor Savings Bank is offering Buoy Local gift cards that can only be used at participating local businesses in an effort to encourage people to “shop small.” 

The shopping will be followed by the association’s annual tree lighting with Santa, which King said they expect will draw between 1,200 and 1,500 people, many of whom will hopefully browse some of the downtown shops. 

King and the Brunswick Downtown Association have actively worked to rebuild the downtown since becoming a member of Main Street America in 2012, a national program dedicated to “helping improve local economies and enhance quality of life” by revitalizing the community’s downtown, according to the website. 

Now, there are more than 345 members of the Brunswick Downtown Association and no empty storefronts, King said. She helps coordinate about 35 events every year with the goal of bringing people from Brunswick and around the region to Maine Street, to help cultivate the “quaint, New England Style, small town, Norman Rockwell” feel, she said. 

The annual tree lighting and Small Business Saturday events help with that, even though as she said, “every day should be small business day.” 

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