By Cody Willoughby
MIAMI COUNTY – This year’s local shopping season has kicked off in a new and festive way with a special event called “Holiday Welcome Weekend.”
The event, which spanned the weekend, was a joint venture by more than 100 unique shops and restaurants in the Miami County area, including businesses in Troy, Piqua, Tipp City, West Milton, and Covington. All participating locations were open on Friday and Saturday 10a.m-6p.m., and on Sunday 12-5 p.m. with some providing earlier and later hours outside of that timeframe.
Many businesses provided special sales and promotional deals to coincide with the three-day event, some also offering refreshments and door prize drawings to shoppers throughout the weekend.
Diane Thompson, executive director of the Miami County Visitors and Conventions Bureau, conceptualized the event and made arrangements with her team to make it a reality.
“This is the first year that we’ve done it, but it was an idea I had for a couple of years,” Thompson said. “Some of the communities regularly have holiday open house weekends each season and others don’t. I talked to a couple of folks and proposed the idea of doing it all at the same time. Everyone thought it could be amazing. It took a while to come to an agreement with each community, and it was kind of a democratic process on figuring out what we could do.”
Thompson hopes the event will stand as a positive promoter of all the county’s local businesses heading into the holidays.
“We hope to bring exposure to people that these towns have wonderful dining and shopping experiences that they’re not going to find near a mall or the big-box stores,” Thompson said. “This is a great weekend to do it. For some communities, this time is often rather slow, being the week before Thanksgiving, so we challenged ourselves to see what we could do in order to make this a profitable time for our stores and restaurants.”
According to Thompson, the turnout for the event seemed exceptional.
“I was in Troy for the opening, and I went to many of the shops,” Thompson said. “Everyone seemed very happy. We saw lots of people with packages and shopping bags in the square, and I loved that. I visited Piqua, too, and the shops there seemed pretty busy. I’m pleased with how everything has gone.”
The “Holiday Welcome Weekend” event precedes the Grand Illumination event in Troy, which kicks off on Friday, Nov. 24., followed by “Shop Small Saturday” on Saturday, Nov. 25, another event in place to promote small businesses.
For more information on local events, visit www.hometowngreat.com.