Shop Petal First set for three summer Saturdays

By HASKEL BURNS,

Shop Petal First – an annual initiative that showcases the Friendly City’s retail scene and encourages residents to keep their dollars local – is changing up a bit this year, moving from its usual fall slot to summer.

This year, the 18th annual event will take place on the second Saturday of each month of the summer season: June 8, July 13 and Aug. 10.

“We’re doing something a little bit different than what we usually do – we’re just adding to the Shop Petal First experience,” said Valerie Wilson, director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. “The summer season is traditionally slow for most of our retailers and our restaurants – a lot of people are traveling, and they just don’t have shopping on their priority list.

“So we decided to try to come up with some incentives for them – they could be shopping for Father’s Day, they could get an early start on school shopping. So it’s a way for us to add a little excitement to summer, and to have some Shop Petal First experiences over the summer time.”

Petal shopping will be divided into three color-coded areas – red, green and gold. More than 25 retailers – including Carter’s Jewelry, Patriot Spirits, Chappell Hill Grocery, Fox’s Pizza Den and Grand Central Outfitters – will participate in the event, offering sales and specials to shoppers.

In addition, a registration form can be picked up at any participating location to enter the Shop Petal First grand prize giveaway. This year’s grand prize is a “gift card tree” with $450 worth of gift cards to businesses like Petal Nutrition, Sully’s, Robin’s Wharf, McAlister’s Deli and Petal Drug Co.

“Just like at our November Shop Petal First, they’ll be able to drop (the form) off at any participating merchant once it’s completed and filled out,” Wilson said. “We’ll be giving away one of those gift card trees every month, so once they complete their shopping spree, they can drop the entry form off and be eligible to win the gift card tree.

“We’ve got a variety of gift cards they’ll be able to utilize in Petal. Since we’re doing one a month, they’ll actually have three chances to win.”

A full list of participating merchants can be found at www.petalchamber.com.

Wilson said previous Shop Petal First events have been rousing successes, and she’s hoping to replicate that with the summer edition.

“Our November (Shop Petal First) was fabulous,” Wilson said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had one during the summer, so we’ll see how this goes.”

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