The Downtown Beckley Business Association (DBBA) hosted the Small Business Saturday Pop-Up Shops on Nov. 26th for Shop Small Saturday. DBBA organizers including NRGRDA/WVSU Extension Agent Christine Kinder worked with 35 vendors and 2 property owners to house vendors in vacant buildings. The DBBA helped to strengthen the economic base of our local community by supporting small, independent businesses and property owners by creating pop-up shops in vacant buildings downtown. The goal of this event is to help convert permanent tenants to these vacant buildings by utilizing the available space in our downtown.

The pop-up vendors set up shop in the Grant building on Neville Street and in the law office of Robert Dunlap on Main Street. Vendors included local artists, food vendors, musicians and direct sale entrepreneurs. Vendors were also in the Kirkpatrick building on Neville. Maps were available including vendor locations and official Shop Small swag was handed out to excited shoppers.

In addition to the pop-up vendors we helped to promote the current retail shops downtown that also participated in Small Business Saturday. It’s important to shop small and buy local because you’re not only purchasing unique goods, you’re investing in your community.The event received great press before and on the day of. The national Small Business Saturday event sponsored by American Express provides communities an opportunity to advertise their local businesses through “swag” containing promotional materials to entice customers to come out and shop. Items such as balloons, banners, stickers and the very popular Shop Small tote bag helped in promoting the event. All the businesses involved reported having a very successful day. Our downtown saw a large amount of foot traffic despite the cold weather.

The vendors, shoppers, and property owners were thrilled with the utilization of space. We had a very successful event with an estimated 1,000+ people in attendance spending money locally that day. The Shop Small event successfully drove foot traffic to downtown Beckley and helped establish working relationships with property owners. The DBBA continually strives to help the local economy while increasing pride in our city.

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