By Dan Linehan
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Old Town is kicking off an effort to promote small-business shopping by decorating its storefronts Saturday and holding a contest for the best-looking display.
“The objective is for people to shop at small retailers throughout the holiday season,” said Theresa Carlberg, chair of the marketing and promotions committee on the City Center Partnership.
She’s expecting more downtown traffic than usual thanks to the Kiwanis Holiday Lights display in Sibley Park.
The best-decorated storefront wins $200 and a $50 gift certificate from a downtown restaurant, Pub 500.
It’s timed to begin on Small Business Saturday, a nationwide effort.
Diane Volden, owner of the consignment shop Encore, said several businesses have committed to spruce up their windows and walks.
“The bike shop has a big surprise, Encore is definitely in the running,” she said.
Volden said shoppers often hit the big stores on the morning after Thanksgiving, then visit smaller retailers in the afternoon.
“We don’t have the staff to be open all night,” she said.
“It’s just a good day for people to remember us.”
On Wednesday, the City Center Partnership erected a banner across Riverfront Drive at Rock Street to promote the effort. (Banners like this are allowed downtown, with the permission of the city.