Flexibility is the key for valley merchants sailing stormy seas

Kristin Kemak

A familiar downtown Lewiston holiday tradition will continue this year in a format adjusted to limit the spread of the coronavirus among shoppers.

Typically, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston hosts an event sometime before Christmas where participants win prizes based on the number of businesses they patronize on a single day, said Brenda Morgan, the organization’s interim vice president.

This year, that event will move online and last for several weeks, ending sometime in December, to discourage large numbers of people from congregating in the commercial district at once, said Morgan, a warranty administrator at Rogers Toyota.

Customers will be able to enter a drawing if they post on social media about purchases they made at any local business, not just those that are downtown.

“We definitely want to show we put the health of the community first,” Morgan said.

Many of the people who shop locally might do so without setting foot in stores, something that’s easier now because so many entrepreneurs have strengthened their online presence during the pandemic, she said.

Catkin, for example, offers personal shopping where customers can receive pictures of clothing based on their tastes, budget and size, said Elizabeth Coleman, the owner, in a text.

Beautiful Downtown Lewiston is also encouraging businesses to market themselves in an online holiday shopping guide at bit.ly/35MUUQT .

Similar to BDL, the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce has modified its holiday activities, including canceling its annual lighted Christmas parade in Clarkston, President and CEO Kristin Kemak said.

“It was heartbreaking we could not carry on this tradition that has been going on more than 30 years, but we do have a responsibility for the health and safety of the community, chamber staff and chamber members,” Kemak said.

Instead, the chamber is organizing a window decorating contest in Lewiston, Clarkston and Asotin. Pictures of the displays will be posted on the chamber’s Facebook page from Nov. 27 through Dec. 8, along with products, services or specials businesses want to highlight.

The winners will be determined by how many votes each business receives. The top prize is a media package of television and radio advertising valued at $3,000, Kemak said.

“We want everything to be lit up,” she said.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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