Downtown Shakopee is hoping residents come out to support local businesses during the holiday season.
Small businesses in Shakopee struggled in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to Shakopee Chamber and Visitors Bureau President Tim Zunker. The downtown area looks to bounce back this winter by promoting “shop local” initiatives and hosting community events with participation from downtown businesses.
According to Zunker, events like Holiday Fest on Dec. 4 shine a light on downtown Shakopee and its array of shops.
This year’s Holiday Fest is getting back to normal as last year’s event was heavily compromised due to the pandemic.
Downtown businesses are contributing this year by hosting holiday activity stations, where kids can participate in craft activities like face painting and decorating gingerbread houses.
According to the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce, eight businesses are hosting activities for Holiday Fest: Bill’s Toggery & Bluff Creek, Bittner’s Bakery, Downtown Nutrition, O’Brien’s Public House, Pullman Club & Valley Sports, Scott County Historical Society, Shakopee Brewhall and Sit & Sip Cafe.
Zunker said participating in Holiday Fest does a lot for these businesses around holiday time.
“There’s an opportunity for people to go through some of these downtown businesses and do the kids activities but then also see what these retailers have to offer, what they’re selling and what their products are,” Zunker said.
The event’s winter vendor market and parade also bring attention to local businesses, allowing guests to “shop small” and celebrate local shops. Zunker said the majority of businesses in the parade are from Shakopee.
Holiday Fest is longer this year and now takes place on Saturday afternoon. Zunker believes these changes will create more traffic for downtown businesses since the estimated 4,000 guests will have more time to walk around and familiarize themselves with all the local shops.
“During the holiday season, we look at this signature event as an opportunity to bring additional people in the downtown area and increase that economic impact for our businesses,” Zunker said.
Zunker said the chamber looks at this time of year as a way to endorse local holiday shopping and bring people into Shakopee businesses.
In addition to Holiday Fest, the city is promoting Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27, a day for people to shop at local businesses. The city’s website states that this initiative can urge people to “#ShopSmall and support the businesses that make our community thrive.”
Zunker said bringing attention to Shakopee’s downtown businesses can kick off a significant economic impact for the downtown area and community as a whole.
“We just want to make sure that we get back to providing these types of events that can help bring that positive economic impact and help with recovery for those businesses,” Zunker said.