Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf and their guests enjoy the “snow” in the breezeway of the Cullman Chamber of Commerce Friday evening. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)
CULLMAN – Santa Claus and Buddy the Elf made their first holiday appearance at the Cullman Chamber of Commerce Friday evening when, for the second year in a row, the Alabama Retail Association (ARA) chose Cullman to kick off its “Shop Alabama for the Holidays” campaign. Local business owners were on hand to learn more about the initiative.
Melissa Warnke, Cullman native and manager of communication and engagement for ARA, explained why Cullman was chosen again, sharing, “Cullman is a model of what a community can be like when the local community supports their local retailers and business owners.”
The ARA predicts a 4.5 percent increase in 2018 holiday spending compared to the $11.7 billion spent in 2017. To celebrate this year’s shopping season, Warnke announced the holiday hashtag #DoubleYourGift.
Shared Warnke, “It’s crucial that local businesses have our support this time of year. It’s the make or break season for them and it’s what carries them through the slower months of the year. When you buy a gift locally to give to a friend or family member, you are also giving a gift back to your city.”
She added, “When you shop Alabama, when you shop local, you are supporting your friends and neighbors. You are strengthening your own local economy and you are investing in the vibrancy of your own city. You all have the power to create a ripple effect in your own community. We don’t want the impact to be felt in the corner offices of some online shopping mega dealer. We don’t want that impact to be felt out of state when they ship things into our state while they get all the profits. We want that impact to be felt right here.”
Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs smiled, “We do love Christmas! One thing we are doing to make Cullman more of a Christmas destination, we are a putting lights on all the buildings for the two blocks from here (the Chamber of Commerce) all the way to the courthouse; (we’re) putting them at Depot Park, Economic Development, (the) Depot building and the (Cullman County) Museum. November 30 will be the lighting of the Christmas tree and concert. We hope to keep expanding each year.”
In time for the holiday season, the Cullman Chamber of Commerce has launched a free app called “Think Local First Cullman.” The app will allow businesses to promote themselves, sales and special events.
Members of the Hartselle Chamber of Commerce were on hand to judge the 30-plus holiday window displays at local shops and businesses Friday night. This weekend’s Christmas in Cullman Open House, going on in the Warehouse District, began in 1985 and is a great way to get an early jump on the holiday while shopping locally.
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Merchants open for business
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Santa
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
1-5 p.m. Merchants open for business
1-4 p.m. Santa
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