Holiday shopping started early this year, a shift that has likely resulted from consumers concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their community.
According to the National Retail Federation, 20 percent of annual retail sales nationwide are typically attributed to holiday sales.
Last year, 15 percent of those transactions were conducted online.
As curbside services and online sales increase in popularity, it will be interesting to see what trends emerge locally during the 2020 holiday season.
As we continue to adapt to so many unknowns, one thing is certain: Our local business community is coming together and displaying their creativity, progressive ideas, and resilience.
Among the latest collaborative efforts to support the local economy is the recent launch of Boost Business NEPA.
Local business leaders representing a wide variety of professions created this initiative to connect locally owned businesses impacted by COVID-19 with the partners and support services they need. For more information on support for your business, or to provide support to a local business, visit https://boostbusinessnepa.com/
Scranton Tomorrow is proud to participate in Boost Business NEPA this holiday season.
Scranton Tomorrow has also developed a campaign to encourage shopping and dining locally this holiday season. Light Up Downtown Scranton kicks off this month with several promotions designed to appeal to a wide variety of consumer styles, including:
• Online Downtown Dining & Shopping Guides: Comprehensive listings of boutiques, restaurants and pubs in the Downtown Scranton Business District housed on our website at www.scrantontomorrow.org. These online directories will make supporting local merchants easier with links to websites, social media and restaurant delivery apps, in addition to addresses and phone numbers. We’re building these directories as a service at no cost to the businesses listed. Be sure to follow Scranton Tomorrow on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
• Shop Your Way, Nov. 13, 14, 15: Every shopping style will be accommodated as business owners offer in-person, by-appointment-only, curbside and online sales options. Shop Your Way kicks off on Nov. 13 with special incentives from participating businesses. It’s never been easier to support local.
• Home for the Holidays, Nov. 14 to 21: Before they head home for the holidays, college students in Lackawanna County will enjoy special incentives and promotions from participating downtown businesses with presentation of valid student ID.
• Holiday Window Showcase: Nov. 25 to Jan. 1,: Adapting to an earlier shopping season, we’re launching this holiday tradition earlier than usual. In keeping with the theme of Light Up Downtown Scranton, the Holiday Window Showcase opens the night before Thanksgiving. This is the same night our community enjoys the annual lighting of the iconic Times Tower on top of the Scranton Times building on Penn Avenue. Last year, more than 65 businesses participated in the showcase and we anticipate more will join in the promotion this year. It is a great way to encourage everyone to visit their favorite shops and eateries in the downtown.
• Black Friday, Nov. 27: This year, it’s more important than ever to support small businesses that make our community unique. We encourage everyone to patronize shops and eateries in Downtown Scranton on Black Friday in person, or online. This is the perfect time to pick up or order gift cards from favorite businesses, too.
• Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28: Shopping small makes a huge impact during Small Business Saturday. You’ll find special promotions and unique gifts in more than 50 shops and eateries in the Downtown Scranton Business District. Enjoy holiday fun while supporting your friends and neighbors. Give your favorite shops and restaurants a shout out on social media using #shopsmall, #smallbiz, #shoplocal.
• Cyber Monday, Nov. 30: Online shopping isn’t limited to national chains. Local businesses are showcasing their most popular products and services online, too. Give them a boost on Cyber Monday. Our new Downtown Shopping Guide will help you get started.
• Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1: Scranton Tomorrow will participate in Giving Tuesday. Visit www.scrantontomorrow.org and look for the donate button at the top of the page. Every dollar counts and every donation will help support economic development projects in our historic downtown.
In addition to these promotions, don’t forget that Rally for Restaurants continues through Nov. 24. Through a partnership between Lackawanna College, the City of Scranton, and Scranton Tomorrow, Rally for Restaurants invites local chefs to work with students and use the facilities at the college’s student-operated restaurant, 409 on Adams Ave., every Tuesday and Wednesday evening through November. Proceeds benefit participating restaurants. Launched at the end of September, Rally for Restaurants has generated significant revenue for local restaurants facing economic challenges due to COVID-19. To learn more, and to make reservations, visit https://www.lackawanna.edu/rally-for-restaurants/.
For updates on the Downtown Scranton Business District, be sure to follow Scranton Tomorrow on social media and visit our website at www.scrantontomorrow.org.
Leslie Collins is the Executive Director of Scranton Tomorrow, a community nonprofit.