Cookie Baking Crew toddle tee available at Charlie Rae.EDWARDSVILLE - Community members are invited to join downtown Edwardsville businesses for their annual Downtown Cookie Walk.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, local businesses will welcome customers into their stores to enjoy special deals and signature Christmas cookies. Tickets cost $5 and all proceeds benefit local nonprofit Restore Decor.

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“The idea is something fun and festive to get everybody out and about, something that can bring the small businesses together again,” said Cara Miller, owner of Seams For The Soul Boutique and organizer of the Cookie Walk. “Really, it’s just about the Christmas spirit. I’m a huge, huge Christmas fanatic, so I love anything that resembles a Hallmark movie and this definitely does for me.”

This is the third year for the Cookie Walk, and nearly 500 people have already expressed interest. Afterwords Books, Charlie Rae, My Treasure House, Seams For The Soul, Vintage 71, 222 Artisan Bakery, 1818 Offshore and Cleveland-Heath will participate. Ticket holders will receive exclusive discounts and giveaways at the shops, and the restaurants will offer drink and appetizer specials. Miller said the goal is for people to shop and then end their day at either 1818 Offshore or Cleveland-Heath for dinner.

Each retailer will also offer a complimentary Christmas cookie. Miller encourages people to think of it as a “collect them all” game. She noted that small businesses rely on community support to stay afloat, and she hopes the Cookie Walk will give Edwardsville shops a boost before the holidays.

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“It’s becoming more and more important to keep these independent retailers top of mind,” she added. “Brick and mortar is kind of challenged right now. So I think that events such as this one can really help to shine some light on the unique retailers we have in this town because it makes our town special.”

Miller enjoys organizing events like this because she knows firsthand how powerful the collaboration between small businesses can be. The Cookie Walk is another way to encourage relationships between business owners in downtown Edwardsville.

“I personally work with over 12 local makers that are highlighted within my four walls. I’ve just seen firsthand the success and synergy and support that those makers and myself have experienced over the last five years, and it’s been a huge part of my success and the joy of running my business,” she said. “One of my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur is the relationships I’ve built with other business owners in town. I just have a great community in that, so it’s been really rewarding and it’s ever-changing.”

Miller encourages people to shop local during the holiday season and support small businesses through events like the Cookie Walk. You can purchase tickets online or visit the official Facebook event page for more information.

“We have the coolest restaurants and we have awesome little independent shops, and it’s been really rewarding meeting all of those owners and watching the growth transpire over the last five years, especially considering we weathered a pandemic,” Miller added. “Take the time to visit all of these shopping locations. I’m always surprised at what you can find. They have great offerings. They try really hard to make it convenient and valuable to our community, so it’s important to take the time to visit.”

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