Niles DDA Main Street to host Small Business Saturday Nov. 24

NILES — From signature barbecue to hand crafted soaps and wares, people looking for  special gifts this holiday season or a way to treat themselves are likely to find something to fit the bill this Small Business Saturday & Holiday Homecoming.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, downtown merchants will partner with the Niles DDA Main Street to help put on the event. The festivities will begin at about 10 a.m. and will include a variety of activities. In addition to having the opportunity to browse the shops, restaurants and businesses that make up the downtown, Justin Flagel, a board member for the Niles DDA Main Street, said there will be loads of activities.

“We are trying to turn it in to a Niles tradition,” Flagel said. “We have a lot of attractions to bring to people downtown.”

The Howard Township Fire Department will be selling live Christmas trees. Volunteers will be scattered throughout the downtown, passing out hot chocolate and snacks. New this year, Niles business Euphoric Stage will also seek to be part of the fun and have performers throughout the downtown putting on a show for the crowds. An Artisan Alley, where people can find hand crafted goods, will take place on Second Street in front of the Brass Eye. From 1 to 4 p.m. there will be horse drawn carriage rides.

Flagel encouraged people to visit Second and Main streets around 5:30 p.m. to visit Santa Claus and see a tree lighting, around dusk. People will be invited to get pictures with Santa Claus and his sleigh. The new decorations, obtained recently from Holland, will also be up for display around the downtown.

Flagel said the traditional event’s goal is to promote local business.

“It’s similar to the Hunter Ice Festival,” Flagel said. “The idea is to have some attractions to bring people downtown and bring all that traffic flow downtown. Really the most important event beyond all the things we are doing is all the businesses downtown that are doing their own special things in response.”

Flagel said many of the local businesses are planning to offer specials, hand out treats or extend their hours.

“My mantra has been ‘do something cool,’” Flagel said. “They are all doing something cool in order to … show people what they have got going on and hopefully make lifelong customers.”

Flagel also invited community members to get involved and said the Niles DDA Main Street is still seeking volunteers to hand out snacks and participate in caroling or performing. He also invited artisans to reach out to him and be part of the Artisan Alley, which is free for vendors.

Flagel encouraged people to be part of an alternative to waiting in long lines at big box stores this holiday season.

“People can come down, buy a Christmas tree and grab a bite to eat and do a little holiday shopping and just have fun with their families and everyone else in town,” Flagel said. “We are all kind of holed up with the cold weather. It’s nice to get out into town and see each other and be a community.”

Those interested in volunteering are advised to contact Flagel via email at justin.flagel@gmail.com. To learn more about the event, visit nilesmi.org.

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