PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s small businesses are looking to make big sales Thanksgiving weekend and they hope a little incentive will get more people walking through their doors.
Small Shops Big Hearts, an organization that supports Portland’s small retailers, is hosting a holiday shopping raffle event on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 & 27. Entering the raffle is as easy as walking inside one of the dozens of participating business.
Kuto is an app that allows shoppers to make payments to local businesses and cut down on card transaction fees. Users can connect the app to their bank to pay. Anyone who gets the app can enter their location and if they live in or near Portland, the Small Shops Big Hearts raffle event will appear.
A shopper’s first purchase while participating in the raffle will unlock 10% off at every other participating small business.
Shoppers receive a raffle entry for every shop they visit, three entries for every purchase, double raffle entries for purchases made with Kuto, and raffle entries are multiplied with more purchases.
The stores in the app and on Small Shops Big Hearts’ shopping guide are organized by location, which will help people find stores close to where they live or to other places they want to shop.
“What’s really fun is that people get together and they can map out which shops they want to hit and plan a couple of neighborhoods on one day and a few other neighborhoods on another day,” explained Sarah Shaoul, founder of Small Shops Big Hearts.
Raffle prizes include things like hotel stays, an iPad, concert tickets, dining experiences and gift baskets.
Shaoul said small businesses are still rebounding after the 2020 closures and are still seeing fewer patrons as the pandemic continues.
“Very few businesses… were in the black at the end of last year. And a lot of the debt has been carried forward. So, a lot of businesses are still carrying the debt from deferred rent payments,” she said.
Cynthia Valenti opened her brick and mortar shop Wildehaus in September 2020. She said it was a scary time to open, but the pandemic also provided her with a great available shop space to move into.
She said holiday sales are a big deal to small business and she hopes people will choose to shop local.
“If you’re concerned about getting something that’s really intentional or unique, shopping local is the way to go,” she said.
Wildehause, on Northeast 22nd Avenue in Portland, isn’t close to many other retailers. That’s why Small Shops Big Hearts is partnering with Lime scooters Thanksgiving weekend to help allow more people to access stores that are a bit more off the beaten path.
Lime is offering free rides to people who shop at four participating local businesses: Wildehaus, Boedecker Cellars, SymbiOp, and Olander Earthworks.
“It’s such a good way to get to local businesses and connect to transit and get to places you wouldn’t be able to if you you know maybe have to walk or have to catch a bus,” said Michael Norco, operations manager with Lime in Portland.
If someone makes a purchase that’s too big to bring home on a scooter, Small Shops Big Hearts has a plan for that too. They’ve also partnered with Legwork Local Delivery, a zero-emissions local delivery service. Legwork has offered to provide free deliveries for purchases made at Wildehaus, Boedecker Cellars, SymbiOp, and Olander Earthworks on Friday and Saturday.
“The small businesses are what make the community. They’re so important economically and culturally and just bring the city to life and make it a place that we all want to live. And so, seeing what Small Shops Big Hearts was doing, I wanted to help in any way that we could,” said Legwork Local Delivery founder Dan Woodward.
Shaoul said she hopes that by combining forces, these companies will make shopping local more accessible for everyone.
For more information on Small Shops Big Hearts’ holiday raffle event, visit their website.
Click here to download and print the paper raffle game sheet.