Shop Small Saturday is coming up Nov. 28 and while it may not be an option for some people to be out and about that weekend, people shouldn’t feel discouraged from taking the opportunity to shop local, even if they have to do it over the internet.

The Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce has moved its event online.

Economic Development Specialist/Finance Manager Sean Flanagan-Burks said the Chamber did not feel it could, in good conscience, hold the event the way it usually does, with a passport shoppers can take around to area businesses and have it stamped to enter in a drawing later.

The passport and drawing have been scrapped this year in favor of using a Facebook group where shoppers will be able to check out online deals from local small businesses.

“Any business within the Junction City/Geary County community can request access to host business deals on our Shop Small Facebook,” Flanagan-Burks said. “Anyone that has deals for Shop Small Saturday can definitely request to be added.”

Because the Chamber is still in the process of gathering businesses to take part in the event, a complete list of participating businesses is not available at this time, but as the day grows closer, names will be added, Flanagan-Burks said.

The hope is to eventually have a comprehensive list of every participant and the online deals they’re offering as part of the event.

She said there are many small businesses in the community that have taken a hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic and could use the boost Small Business Saturday can offer entrepreneurs.

Chamber Director of Member Relations Dawn Stephens said shopping small and local can definitely make a difference.

“Business in general has been hurt a lot this year, especially retail, the food industry — so many have been affected by COVID,” she said. “More than ever, I think shopping small and shopping local is extremely important, keeping our dollars here locally, helping out these local businesses who do so much for our community — whether it be in sales or community service or anything else they’re involved in. And as a bonus, all those tax dollars stay here in our area."

This year, Junction City and Geary County have prospered in an unexpected way due to the pandemic driving people to choose to shop closer to home. While many local small businesses have taken a hit from COVID-19, sales tax has surged in the community.

This, according to Stephens, indicates that even small purchases made locally can add up to make a big difference.

“Sales tax income has been increased all year,” she said. “We’ve been doing much better than some of our neighbors and just the idea that we can keep that going is also awesome. But mostly for those particular, individual retailers who just really work hard all year long — we like to see them benefit from something like shop small, shop local and Small Business Saturday."

The Facebook group can be joined here: facebook.com/groups/smallbizsatJCGC and anyone is welcome to join and see what’s going on.

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