14 merchants participating in holiday shopping passport program

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FARMINGTON — Independent retailers are gearing up to participate in Small Business Saturday, a nationwide movement to get people to shop and support locally owned establishments.

Michael Bulloch, downtown coordinator for the City of Farmington, said up to 30 small businesses in downtown will participate in the day this year and several will open doors starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"We're encouraging people to skip shopping the big-box stores and shop the mom and pop stores," Bulloch said.

He added while there is nothing wrong with shopping at large retailers, the concern is that majority of the revenue goes out of town, but purchases made at small businesses remain in the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

Small Business Saturday as been taking place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since it was founded by American Express Co. in 2010.

American Express continues to support the day and provides materials for businesses and backers to promote the event.

The windows of several downtown businesses are sharing the message of shopping locally in blue and white posters this week.

An annual survey released Nov. 16 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics states that approximately 164 million people plan to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

The survey also found that 67 million people are expected to shop on Small Business Saturday.

Small retailers in Farmington have participated in Small Business Saturday for several years and benefit from connecting with new and frequent customers that day, Bulloch said.

A feature introduced during last year's day – the holiday shopping passport – starts Saturday and runs through Dec. 22, and 14 downtown businesses are participating this year, Bulloch said.

Under the passport program, customers who make a purchase from a participating store will receive a stamp. When they collect five stamps from five different stores, they submit their passport to any participating business for a chance to win one of 14 prizes donated by the businesses.

The deadline to submit completed passports is 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 23.

"If you have a lot of time, come down and do some shopping," Bulloch said.

Many businesses will remain open during the Downtown Holiday Art Stroll and Art Walk, which will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, he added.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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