By ROB W. ANDERSON
Holiday shopping in Tahlequah this year could net patrons gift certificates from nearly 60 merchants and cash giveaways totaling $10,000.
The activity formerly known as Shop Tahlequah First is now a component of the Snowflake Winter Festival, and the 2012 Snowflake Ten Grand Giveaway is already awarding prizes, said Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Moore.
“You’ve got to ‘like’ the Snowflake Ten Grand Giveaway page on Facebook, and there you will see specials from merchants, and you’ll also find out the winners. We have daily winners. We had our first [on Monday from Stuteville Ford] and it was a $25 gift certificate,” he said. “There’s a winning ticket number on there now, but nobody’s claimed it yet.”
To participate in the 2012 Snowflake Ten Grand Giveaway, a customer must spend at least $10 at one of the businesses involved in the promotion, which began Nov. 23 and will run through Friday, Dec. 21. The customer will receive one ticket for every $10 spent up to $1,000, said Moore.
“They get one ticket per $1,000 after that,” he said. “There are double-ticket days; one was Black Friday and one is [Saturday,] Dec. 8. And that means exactly what it sounds like. Instead of one ticket for every $10, they get two for every $10 spent.”
Between now and Dec. 16, customers can go to the Facebook page, and through a random drawing, they could win what’s called a “Chamber Buck.”
“It’s a voucher that can be spent at any of the participating merchants,” said Moore. “[Monday] we gave away a $25 gift certificate. They treat it just like cash. Then starting Dec. 17, we give away $1,000 cash. We’ll give away a $1,000 cash prize Dec. 18, 19 and 20, and then on the 21st, we give away $5,000. You find out if you’re a winner through the Facebook page, and you’ll have several days to claim your prize. We update the drawing every Friday.”
Vintage on Main owner-operator Whitney Shaw has been conducting business at her downtown location for a year, and said sales from people living in the area have increased due to events like the Snowflake Ten Grand Giveaway.
“I’ve noticed a trend since I’ve been here, which is a little over a year, and when people buy, we say ‘thank you,’ and if they’re from Tahlequah, a lot of them will say ‘we’re keeping it local’ and that just feeds into it. It keeps people in town shopping at local businesses, and that makes you in turn as a shop owner want to give back and shop local and support other merchants,” Shaw said. “My block’s been busy since I got here. We’re busy. I’ve noticed a difference in age groups, too. It’s nice to be able to tell visitors who come in and ask, ‘Where can I eat?’ [the names of restaurants], especially in the summer when they’re shopping or visiting. It’s nice to be able to send them just a few blocks within walking distance.”
Northeastern State University student Jennifer Agent, a senior Early Childhood Development major from Sallisaw, observed that Tahlequah’s North End District is beginning to show signs of becoming an area of attraction for shoppers of all ages.
“I think they’re making it a little more trendier,” she said. “I used to live in Norman, and Campus Corner [across the street from The University of Oklahoma] had a lot of fun places. I like that they’re getting trendy with things like clothing boutiques and cooler places to eat.”
Another holiday shopping event taking place is the Thompson House Victorian Christmas, scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, 1 to 5 p.m., said Thompson House board member Beth Herrington.
“We’ll have wonderful baked goods from the best cooks in town. We have Christmas decorations, dishes, linens, jewelry – you name it and we’ve got it,” she said. “We do have some antique dishes and some antique jewelry, but most of it will be stuff brought in by the vendors and consigners. We do have a few antique Christmas decorations. I’m looking at some vintage Christmas balls that are really pretty. We do have lots of Christmas decorations.”
Herrington said patrons will also be able to purchase the opportunity to win a Valentine’s Day dinner for six at the Thompson House for $5.
“We also have poinsettias at a very minimum cost. They’re big and pretty,” she said. “We also have salsa, jams and jellies, and all of those are homemade.”
For more information about the Thompson House Victorian Christmas, call (918) 456-1595. Those interested in learning more about the Snowflake Ten Grand Giveaway can call the chamber (918) 456-3742 or visit the Facebook page.