Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership urges residents to shop local this holiday season

In this article, we have listed a number of safe ways to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is urging residents to shop local this holiday season. The Partnership is introducing a number of business support initiatives in downtown Kalamazoo to bring support to local businesses during this difficult time.

"Our team cannot stress the importance of shopping local enough, and there are so many safe ways to do that. Whether you are shopping online or in-person, ordering takeout or curbside pickup, purchasing gift cards or Downtown Dollars – all of these small actions have a huge impact on downtown businesses," said Andrew Haan Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership president.

Below, we have listed a number of safe ways to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic:


1. Support local with a Downtown Dollars  

Having trouble finding a perfect holiday gift? Consider the gift of Downtown Dollars this season.  Downtown Dollars is like having a gift card to 35+ downtown businesses. The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is offering the following Downtown Dollars promo: when you purchase $20 in Downtown Dollars, you get an added $5 free. This deal began on November 9 and is available to the first 2000 costumers. Using Downtown Dollars for holiday shopping is a great way to support local businesses.

Available for purchase at https://downtownkalamazoo.org/downtown-dollars/

Downtown Dollars work at participating downtown restaurants, shops, and businesses. They can be printed or used right on your phone. Purchased Downtown Dollars are good for five years; dollars received for free are valid until July 1, 2021.


2. Small Business Saturday(s)

November 28 is a nationwide day to shop local in your community. However, in Kalamazoo, Small Business Saturday takes place on every Saturday during the month of December. As part of this initiative, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership worked with local vendors and entrepreneurs to set up outdoor stations on the North Kalamazoo Mall for a Holiday Mall Market. The Downtown Partnership is asking all shoppers to wear masks, even while shopping outdoors, and to maintain a 6-foot distance.

The Holiday Mall Market will take place from 4-8 p.m. on December 5, 12, and 19. With purchase, customers will receive an "I Shopped Local - Downtown Kalamazoo" pin. The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership encourages shoppers to share pictures with their pins and spread the message of shopping local in downtown throughout the entire holiday season. 


3. Winter Window Decorating Contest

Everyone could benefit from a little more cheer this year. Luckily, the Downtown Kalamazoo’s Winter Window Decorating Contest is returning this year. Come down for a walking tour of downtown Kalamazoo’s holiday lights and decorated storefronts. Votes can be cast both in person, by scanning the QR code on the storefront, or by liking the storefront on social media. QR code voting launches on November 28 and runs through December 16; social media voting launches December 7 and runs through December 16. Winners will be announced December 18.


4. Sip and Stroll through Downtown Kalamazoo

Downtown business are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by shifting to dining outdoors and take-out and delivery options. For those ordering their food and beverages to-go, Kalamazoo offers a great outdoor solution with the Central Commons Refreshment Area. The Central Commons Refreshment Area allows residents and visitors to sip and stroll throughout downtown with a drink while taking in all the sights from holiday lights to decorated windows. An expansion of the area is coming in December. 


5. Santa’s Workshop

Santa's Workshop, a holiday favorite, is still adjusting from its original plans to keep everyone safe this holiday season.  The workshop was originally scheduled to open at the Radisson Plaza Hotel on December 5 by appointment only. Stay tuned for updated details.


6. Donate this #GivingTuesday

This #GivingTuesday, please consider a donation to the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership as they work to support businesses and bring new programs, initiatives and investments to downtown Kalamazoo. The Partnership is the entity behind many meaningful projects in downtown including the reimagining of Bates Alley into a vibrant event space, the creation of the Central Commons Refreshment Area, and events such as SkeleTour, Beats on Bates, and Santa's Workshop.

Those interested in donating can set up a regular donation of $10 per month or more, or make a one-time donation on their Facebook page.