EDWARDSVILLE/GLEN CARBON - Over 1,500 community members gathered at The Gingham Buffalo for a night of free holiday spirit during the second annual Miracle on Main Street event on Nov. 10, 2023.
Boheme Boutique, Seams For The Soul Boutique and The Gingham Buffalo teamed up to organize Miracle on Main Street with the help of other local businesses, who sponsored free carriage rides, pictures with Santa, face painting, a hot chocolate bar and more. Cara Miller, owner of Seams For The Soul Boutique, said the businesses “made a really good team” and the event itself was “definitely a festive evening.”
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“Everyone seemed really happy. It was very magical,” she added. “Luckily, our community is just so supportive of small business.”
Attendees could start their holiday shopping or enjoy a snack from Earth Candy, Dippidy Donuts and Simpson House Bake Shop. Everything else at the event was completely free, which was a change from last year’s Miracle on Main Street. Miller explained this was an important factor to the three organizers.
“We put a little bit of a different spin on it this year, because we’ve noticed from a lot of our regular customers in our retail stores that families are just feeling a little bit tight in their own personal budgets and having a hard time allocating funds for extra things,” she said. “So we wanted to utilize corporate sponsorship to allow for free carriage rides, free Santa photos, free face painting, and give families an opportunity to have some community Christmas fun for free.”
Sponsors included Plocher Construction, Jen Teske Homes, Remax Alliance and Micah Filipsic - Delmar Mortgage.
Miller noted that she has received a lot of questions about her collaboration with Boheme Boutique and The Gingham Buffalo. Many people are confused by their relationship, as the businesses are technically competing in the same market. But Miller said she is close with both owners and views them not as competitors but as friends. She has followed this mindset ever since she opened her store.
“We’ve kind of operated with the mantra of ‘Community Over Competition’ since the beginning,” she said. “That is one really refreshing thing about the EdGlen community: A lot of the businesses in this town operate that way. We don’t see each other as competition, but just more as an opportunity for collaboration and support and a way to involve the entire area community.”
The Miracle on Main Street event aimed to provide a fun, free holiday-themed night for community members. But it also served as a way to highlight local businesses and encourage people to shop small this holiday season.
While Miller knows it is “increasingly convenient” to shop at big box stores or online, she hopes that Miracle on Main Street attendees and others will choose to support local businesses instead. She pointed out that small businesses often sponsor sports teams and fundraisers in the community, which is an example of their devotion to the area and “a wonderful way to feel connected to our town.”
“We are the ones that are connected to our community,” Miller added. “Pay attention to where you’re shopping through the holidays, because these small businesses really need you right now.”
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