IRON MOUNTAIN & MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – Downtown Iron Mountain and the Munising DDA are both encouraging area residents to shop local this holiday season.

Kathy Reynolds, Executive Director of Munising DDA, says supporting local businesses can be done by purchasing items at local shops or paying in advance for activities.

“A lot of people always, you know they’re looking for a neat idea or something different you can always do something or shopping for example for something that maybe somebody’s going to do later,” said Reynolds. “So even though a lot of our businesses are seasonal there’s still some that are open or that are still available to get gift certificates maybe for somebody coming up next summer, maybe it’s a kayaking trip, maybe its an attraction type thing maybe it’s camping that somebody’s going to do you can go shopping for camping gear right now, or any of a number of gift certificates that people can do whether its groceries, whether its gas, lodging, restaurants, any of those kinds of things.”

Reynolds says it’s important to support local businesses.

“A lot of people want something that’s convenient, they want stores in their own small towns and one way to make sure that stores stay in their small towns or stay open twelve months a year whatever it may be is you need to shop out, you need to spend your money at them,” said Reynolds. “People look at cost comparisons but local shopping is close, you’re not spending the gas to go do it, you’re helping create jobs locally, keeping people employed, help your neighbor do well in their business and that type of thing. So I think it’s always a big thing if you want there to be stores downtown and in your community it means you need to shop at them.”

Anyone who spends money in Alger county businesses from now and Christmas may be surprised with a gift certificate from a holiday character.

“So say somebody just got their hair done, or shopping in the hardware store whatever it may be, they come out and we randomly reward people for shopping local,” said Reynolds. “So you might come out of somewhere and Santa or whomever it may be, snowman or whatever, may hand out a $50 or $100 gift certificate that is a local gift certificate or local spending money that can be used to turn around and shop local again.”

The characters could be out anywhere on any day.

In Iron Mountain Santa will be making an appearance on December 10. Mindy Wittock, Program Director for Downtown Iron Mountain DDA, says they will have a Christmas Walk from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. in the downtown area.

“Starting at 4:00 P.M. we’ll have Santa and Mrs. Claus at our local library and kids can come in and see Santa, registration is required for that” said Wittock. “Along with our window decorating contest our library is hosting a story stroll, so families are encouraged to walk through the downtown and not only vote on the window decorating contest but look for the pages of the story that are throughout the shops of the downtown. They’ll have a map where you can start at one shop and work your way down to read the book. When they finish the story stroll they can answer the question and go back to the library for a gift while supplies last.”

Community members can vote for their favorite window decorations at city hall by ballot or online. Downtown Iron Mountain will announce the three winners in the beginning of 2022. At 5:30 a parade will leave the library with Santa and Mrs. Clause and head to the Christmas tree lighting. Wittock says they are excited that they can host these holiday events again where people can share in community.

“We have a lot of treasure in our own town and it’s really easy to shop online and to go to the bigger stores but in our downtown we have very unique gifts and people who really care about our community own these shops and when you shop there you’re supporting the economic growth in our downtown and you’re supporting members of our community when you shop local,” said Wittock.