Norwich businesses highlighted in state shop local campaign
Norwich — Local businesses are trying to find creative ways to get the message out that they are open for holiday shopping and beyond, and the city and local business support agencies are pledging to help them.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz hosted a Zoom news conference Wednesday featuring Norwich businesses as part of the state’s campaign to promote holiday shopping in local stores, whether it be in person or online.
“You don’t have to leave Norwich to do your holiday shopping,” Bysiewicz said, “and what a wonderful time to support the small businesses that give our towns and cities the special character that they have, and also to support the people who are supporting our Little League teams, who are supporting our nonprofits and civic organizations and people who are our community volunteers.”
Bysiewicz said for every $1 spent at a local business, 67 cents stays in the community.
The Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an outdoor Shop Local Holiday Market from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday along Broadway, Franklin and Bath streets, with about 75 vendors, local businesses and restaurants who normally would have had a busy holiday season with craft fairs, bazaars and the chamber’s own usually crowded Shop Local Saturday event at the Holiday Inn.
Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom and Norwich Community Development Corp. President Jason Vincent announced that the city will be launching a marketing effort in early 2021 to promote local businesses as well as tourism sites. The city has received a grant from the Connecticut tourism office and will provide a local match to launch a passport program for visitors to receive coupons and discounts at local stores.
"We want to be intricately involved in supporting our businesses through the cold weather months," Nystrom said.
NCDC will lead the passport effort and will work with Norwich marketing company Miranda Creative to roll out the program in the first quarter of 2021, Vincent said.
Julio Cancho, owner of Canggio Restaurant and 86’d bar and grill in Norwich, and Heidi Duff, owner of Details Salon on New London Turnpike, told news conference participants they have adjusted their operations with COVID-19 prevention protocols, curbside services, take-out dining and trying to promote hope for the future with gift card specials.
Duff said unlike many salons and other businesses, Details has expanded during the pandemic. She said she has hired a couple of stylists who lost jobs when other salons closed, and customers from those shuttered salons have been coming to Details. She now is booking appointments into February.
Details is promoting gift cards through the holidays with a special that adds $10 to every gift card valued at $100. Duff also is offering a 20% discount on retail sales products through January for every donation of a new toy, coat, canned food item or cash donation that will go to local charities.
Cancho said Canggio and 86’d are offering appetizer discounts for donated new toys and the restaurants also are encouraging gift cards for the holidays, adding $10 to a card with at least a $50 value.
“It’s been a tough year,” Cancho said, “and we try to make a little difference in people’s lives with a little smile, with a little hope.”