Oregon District contest celebrates Christmas, local businesses

By: Katie Christoff – A&E Editor

Dayton holiday shoppers can win up to $1,000 in prizes and gift certificates for buying local this holiday season.

The Oregon District Business Association is promoting local businesses with Christmas in the Oregon District, a month-long contest during which shoppers will receive stamps for each purchase made at 45 participating retailers in the Oregon District.

The contest began on Nov. 29, also known as Small Business Saturday, a holiday following Black Friday that promotes the support of small businesses in efforts to help local economies. It will run through Dec. 20.

When shoppers make a purchase at any of the independent businesses in the Oregon District, including 25 participating dining and entertainment establishments and 20 retail stores, they will receive a stamp on a card that participating businesses have on hand. Once eight stamps are received on one card, shoppers can turn their completed card in to one of three locations: The Trolley Stop, Sterling Studio or Lily’s Bistro.

“There will be a total of four drawings from completed stamp cards. On three Sundays in December, we will draw a card and the winner will receive a gift basket worth about $500 in goods donated by Oregon District businesses,” event organizer Brian Johnson told Dayton Local. “On Sunday, Dec. 21, we will also draw a card for the grand prize, which is worth $1,000 in prizes and gift certificates.”

This is the inaugural year of the contest, and Johnson did most of the organizing himself.

“He did all of the legwork, visited vendors, got buy in and asked for donations,” Lisa Seibert, community executive for Dayton Local said. She said the Oregon District Business Association has been around for a while, but never done anything like this before.

“It’s a longstanding association of businesses in the Oregon District,” Seibert said. “They’re a cohesive, tight group in a small space – 45 vendors is quite a lot for that small area.”

Seibert said the prizes will primarily include gift certificates to establishments in the Oregon District, so shoppers can still use the money however they’d like. These certificates will be for specific businesses, but the grand prize, she said, will include gift certificates that can be spent at any of the participating businesses.

“Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns three times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain,” Siebert wrote in Dayton Local. “Small businesses also donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local nonprofits, events and teams compared to big businesses.”

In the spirit of promoting local businesses, Seibert gave some recommendations for University of Dayton students to purchase Christmas gifts in the Oregon District.

“Gift certificates are a great idea for parents, if they’re planning on coming to visit,” she said. “We have some of best restaurants in Dayton right there in the Oregon District, and also some of the longest term restaurants.”

She also recommended shopping for gifts at Jimmy Modern, a clash consignment boutique that carries handmade local jewelry.

“What’s unique about these businesses is that their products aren’t necessarily new,” Seibert said. “There are a lot of unique consignment or vintage pieces that you can’t find on every corner, and that’s what makes them special”

Seibert hopes the promotion generates even more revenue and support for the local businesses in the Oregon District. She said the locally-owned businesses are special because they’re all unique, and the amount of live entertainment values creates a sense of community in the Oregon District.

“The real value of spending time there is celebrating and being with people,” she said.

For more information on Christmas in the Oregon District and a full list of participating vendors, visit DaytonLocal.com. The Oregon District Business Association asks that shoppers support the promotion by using the hashtag, #Christmasinthedistrict.