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Chatham Business Association Throws "Winterfest" for Small Business Supporters

Lee Edwards | 12/24/2014, 3:51 p.m.
Last week, the Chatham Business Association (CBA) in partnership with Special Service Area (SSA) #51 held a customer appreciation Winterfest ...
L-R: Roderick Sawyer, Jr. and Roderick Sawyer, Sr. are all smiles during the Chatham Business Association and Special Service Area (SSA) #51's Winterfest last week. The Winterfest was held at 800 E. 78th St. as a “thank you” to customers who supported local Chatham businesses during CBA's Black Friday Plus initiative. Photo by Lee Edwards

Last week, the Chatham Business Association (CBA) in partnership with Special Service Area (SSA) #51 held a customer appreciation Winterfest event, at the CBA office, 800 E. 78th St., to thank customers who supported local businesses in the Chatham community during CBA's Black Friday Plus initiative which ran from Nov. 28 to Dec. 18.

Black Friday Plus was an on-going initiative that encouraged both local residents and visitors to the south side of Chicago to shop at establishments in Chatham.

“Today is about thanking the customer for doing what we think is the right thing to do which is shop in our community,” said CBA executive director, Melinda Kelly. “There’s quite a bit of disposable income in Chatham that seeps out of our community. If we bring that back it makes a huge difference.”

Chatham Business Association (CBA) and Special Service Area (SSA) #51 partnered to host Winterfest last Friday, a holiday themed event to thank customers who supported local Chatham businesses throughout the holiday season which was held at the at the CBA office, 800 E. 78th St. in Chicago.

Chatham Business Association (CBA) and Special Service Area (SSA) #51 partnered to host Winterfest last Friday, a holiday themed event to thank customers who supported local Chatham businesses throughout the holiday season which was held at the at the CBA office, 800 E. 78th St. in Chicago.

To be eligible to participate in the Winterfest, one had to spend at least $5 during the Black Friday Plus initiative at any small business located between 7450 - 9500 S. Cottage Grove Ave.; 200 - 850 E. 75th St., 200 - 1050 E. 79th St.; 640 - 930 E. 87th St.; and 800 - 1450 E. 95th St. Over 30 businesses were listed as possible destinations.

Winterfest guests enjoyed free hot chocolate, a picture with Santa Claus, and a chance to win a raffle prizes.

Some raffle winners scored $100 Walgreens gift cards while grand prize winners won $500 gift cards from Walgreens and Target, respectively.

When asked if the holiday programs are targeting Chatham residents or shoppers passing through the community Kelly said, “Both. You have to attract customers from all around the city to come. Nowadays with technology, you can expand your walls; you can expand your customer base and your marketing skills beyond just your geography. Our goal is to attract customers to Chatham.”

“I’m honored to be a part of CBA Winterfest,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) who was in attendance at Winterfest. “A lot of business owners are also residents in our community so we want to make sure that we continue to support one another and support good causes and help out the CBA because they do great work here.”

Sawyer said that he shops in the neighborhood often times patronizing local cleaners, bakeries, clothing stores, restaurants and many other businesses.

“If you’re in some of these places, you’re likely to see me there,” said Sawyer on his willingness to shop within the community.

“We cannot continue to let small businesses falter when they expended a great deal of resources and time to move out to the community to offer us goods and services, yet, if we don’t show them that [we] care and that they matter by spending dollars with them we’re going to continue to be thought of as insignificant so we want to make sure that we are the powers that be in our communities,” said Sawyer.

After the holiday season, Kelly said that CBA will continue with its efforts to make the Chatham business corridor attractive to potential customers. “We’re all committed to making sure that our commercial corridors is some place a customer may want to visit in addition to getting great products and services,” said Kelly.

For more information about CBA visit http://www.cbaworks.org/index.php.