O’FALLON – The third annual Tinsel Around Town event gathered local residents to downtown O’Fallon where there was holiday serenades, food vendor concessions and merchant specials lasting all afternoon.
The event, which took place on Saturday, December 8 from noon to 4 p.m., encouraged local shoppers to support O’Fallon brick and mortar businesses.
O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce president Debbie Martinez said that a lot of people jump on the “shop local bandwagon” around the holidays, but it’s important to remember that business owners are invested in the community year round.
“We have to invest in them year round if we want them to continue to be here,” Martinez said. “By keeping your shopping here in Shiloh and O’Fallon, you’re supporting them.”
Tinsel Around Town featured entertainment from the OTHS Madrigals — they roamed from business to business in downtown and serenaded shoppers. The event also featured funnel cake sales by the OTHS Band Boosters. To keep shoppers warm between their shop stops, the chamber placed different fire pits along First Street.
Owner of Fezziwigs Marketplace, Ellen Leaf-Moore, expressed the same sentiment as Martinez in the importance of supporting local businesses year round.
She said that events such as Tinsel Around Town or Small Business Saturday are great projects that a lot of residents attend — but they may only be shopping local once a year.
“It’s actually really important that they shop the other 11 months out of the year as well — especially for brick and mortar businesses because we have taxes we have to pay, we have rent, we have all kinds of permits that we have, we staff people and hopefully there is enough left over for us to be able to live on.”
Leaf-Moore said that spending just $50 per month in a small business brick and mortar adds a great deal of money to the local economy.
Leaf-Moore used shopping at Walmart as an example.
“If you’re shopping at Walmart, very little of your tax dollars stay right here and the rest of it goes to their corporate headquarters. If you’re shopping a small business like ours, so much more of your tax dollar stays here,” she said. “Tax revenue goes to our schools, local fire department, goes toward roads, police force, goes to all of those people that you are wanting to have better your communities.”
On the convenience of shopping online — “many of us have online businesses as well. When they are purchasing online, those tax dollars still stay here.”
Owner of Refinery Salon Whitney Leidner said that shopping local is reinvesting in your own community.
Leidner said that it’s more fun to shop local.
“We were just doing our yearly planning and we have Pretty in Pink day where we all wear pink and have the movie playing,” she said. “We do more personal and fun things. You don’t get that when you go to a big company.”
Many O’Fallon residents chose Tinsel Around Town to complete their Christmas shopping and also took advantage of what local restaurants had to offer.
Manager of Hollyhock House Boutique Victoria Caswell said that the shop has a great variety of gift options for shoppers.
“We have everything from baby gifts to women’s fashion. We carry sizes extra small to 3X, so we have a little bit of everything for anyone out there,” Caswell said.
“We are really happy to be in O’Fallon and support the community.”