Small Business Saturday serves as the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season across the U.S. and, this Saturday, Hope area retailers are not only decking out their storefronts in the spirit of the season, but they are also offering deep discounts and giveaways to amplify the holiday cheer.

“I think Small Business Saturday is going to be huge for the town of Hope this year,” says Matt Lee, executive director of Main Street of Hope. “Of course, 2020 was down so 2021 wrapped around and everything is getting more back to normal and people are starting to get out and about more.”

Jackie Tallent, co-owner of the Gold Nugget Pawn Shop located on the north side of the Town Square, says she and her staff want to spoil their customers this weekend.

“We’ve never done it that way before,” she says. “We usually have a separate Christmas party, but we decided this year it is about people coming to support us and us supporting other people, too. That is how we want to do it this year.”

Those who shop at the Gold Nugget from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday will find deals on everything in the store, Tallent says. From jewelry specials to buy one get one on CDs and DVDs, just about every item will have a sale tag on it, Tallent adds.

“We will also have a door prize drawing, you don’t have to be present to win, but you do have to be present to sign up,” Tallent says. “That evening we will draw for it.”

On the corner of the southeastern side of the Square, Kim and Eric Everroad at KJ Goat Soaps and Lotions say they will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to give shoppers ample time to stop in and check out their stock of handmade soaps and lotions.

In addition to offering 10 percent off all items, Eric is hopeful for others to discover the benefits of not only buying local, but buying natural.

“We just want to get the word out that goat milk is the number one thing to you can use to help your skin,” he says.

Since recently adding floral arrangements and items alongside their natural products, the Everroads are also offering holiday arrangements, including poinsettias, throughout the holiday season.

Shoppers who swing by WILLow LeaVes to catch a glimpse and quick Selfie with Santa are encouraged to take a stroll through and check out the one-of-a-kind items for sale throughout the store, says Vicki Tedder, co-owner of WILLow LeaVes of Hope.

“We will have mystery specials all day long because they will draw the special themselves out of a hat, whether it is a dollar amount off something, buy one get one or a free iced coffee or something like that,” Tedder says. “We did that last year and people loved it.”

Also new to the WILLow LeaVEs holiday shopping experience is their brand new coffee bar, and for Saturday a hot cocoa bar for the kiddos, Tedder adds.

For the stealthy shoppers who really hunt the deals, Tedder and the staff at WILLow LeaVes are having some holiday fun this year with a bit of a mystery treasure hunt.

“I am thinking about doing a mystery special with gold boxes throughout the store in different places where customers have to fill out their name and number and then there will be a drawing,” Tedder says. “Those boxes are like a grand prize for the day, they have to be sought out throughout the store.”

As Hope and its residents continue to get back to some post-pandemic sense of normalcy, Tedder is hopeful this year mirrors and exceeds last year’s crowd.

“Last year we were so blessed with the day, it was so wonderful we had tons of people here and it was remarkable,” she says.

Although he may likely still be donning his elf attire late into the day Saturday as he accompanies Santa on some unannounced visits in the Hope area, Lee says he can’t help but be excited for the holiday season and for local business.

“When people come to Hope and shop, it kind of gives you that feeling of the old movies,” he says. “Kind of like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘A Christmas Story.’ It gives you that old Christmas feeling of yesteryear.”

Lee says shopping with area retailers this weekend is huge, not only for the unique gifts and items they offer, but it is a gesture of support in many ways.

“The difference between shopping at a box store compared to the pawn shop or Special By Design is when you are buying at box stores they are just restocking,” Lee says. “When you are shopping from one of the small businesses in Hope you also may be helping them to afford their kid’s dance recital or put food on their table. You are actually helping that small business owner with the needs they live with every day. It is a lot different to shop local.”