WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — In Valley Junction, this year has rolled Black Friday into Small Business Saturday to form a Small Business Weekend.
“This year with the need for social distancing, what’s going on is too big for one day,” said Matt Hauge, executive director of the Valley Junction Foundation. “To let people spread out, we’re celebrating Small Business Weekend with three days of special sales and promotions up and down 5th Street Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this year.”
The traffic was pretty busy inside of the store Bing.
“We’re trying our best to maintain social distance. We ask everyone to wear a mask and we are sanitizing everything as much as we can,” said Val Veiock, owner of Bing. “Definitely everyone loves to shop small, hopefully all year round, but specifically this weekend people really focus on coming down here and supporting small local businesses.”
The social distance and masks effort were not lost on some young customers in the store.
“We’re really big about social distancing and wearing masks, so really you’re just trying our hardest to stay away from people,” said Sophie Bast of West Des Moines. “We want to come out and support the local businesses, especially during this time.”
Precautions due to the pandemic are a priority for Valley Junction stores.
“These are folks who are taking things really seriously,” said Hauge. “Things like limiting occupancy, expanding online options, re-configuring stores, so people can move through in a social distance-friendly way.
Side Garage, a screen printing business, has been closed to in-store traffic since March. The firm does their business online. They have hit upon an idea to promote not only their business, but other Valley Junction businesses as well.
“For every $20 spent, we’re taking $5 of that and applying it to purchasing gift cards from local businesses in the area,” said co-owner Ashleigh Leon. “Then with those gift cards were also going to give them away during the month of December.
This year Jingle in the Junction will return with stores open until 9 p.m. on Thursday nights.