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Photo contest, pop-up festival and online campaign encourage Seattle to Shop Small

Shop Seattle Gems is a city-wide campaign made to connect locals to the best “hidden gems” of Seattle, encouraging shoppers to “Go Big, Shop Small” throughout the holiday season. The Shop Seattle Gems campaign features opportunities for shoppers to win prizes while supporting their favorite small businesses through an online photo contest, trivia about local small businesses and a Beacon Hill festival and a scavenger hunt on November 24—Small Business Saturday.

“When I shop small, I feel a sense of community, of adventure, and what it means to be a Seattleite,” said Mayor Durkan. “I hope everyone will join me in celebrating our unique small businesses—and small business owners—by shopping at the places that make Seattle so special.”

Shop Seattle Gems encourages Seattleites to support small businesses in their neighborhoods—particularly minority, women, and LGBTQIA-owned businesses—during the holiday season and year-round. Local celebrities SassyBlack, Sylvia O’Stayformore, Tarik Abdullah and Mayor Durkan joined the campaign by participating in promotional videos highlighting the Seattle neighborhoods and small businesses that are meaningful to them.

“Shopping small is extremely important to our community and economic infrastructure. This is our city, our neighbors, and it’s necessary to support one another in whatever way we can,” said SassyBlack. “When asked to be a part of this campaign, it was a no-brainer. As a musician, I am a small business owner and I know the impact that it has on my work when people come out to my shows or buy merch. This is how we can keep the magic of Seattle alive, through shopping locally. I get great joy out of supporting and I try to do it in every city I travel to.”

The campaign includes a social media photo contest and #NameThatGem small business trivia. The photo contest winner will receive dinner for two at Cactus in South Lake Union, plus a seaplane tour for two on Kenmore Air. To enter the contest, participants simply post a photo of their favorite small business with the hashtag #seattlegems and tag the business location. The business tagged in the winning post will receive free small business marketing consulting courtesy of the City of Seattle. Winners will be announced December 15.*

On November 24, Beacon Hill Merchants Association (soon to be the Beacon Business Alliance) is hosting an all-day Shop Seattle Gems Festival, which includes a real life “Gem Hunt” at small businesses on Beacon Hill. Gems will be hidden at small businesses around Beacon, and the shoppers who find them will receive gift baskets of local goodies. The festival will also include a variety of activities, including a DJ, live painting, artisan vendors and more.

Shop Seattle Gems is all about building community and supporting the neighborhood businesses that give our city its character. “When you shop at local small businesses you’re contributing to the city’s culture, to its soul, to what makes your community unique and special to you,” said Tacos Chukis owner Roberto Salmeron.

“Shopping with small business is so important to Delite Bakery and our family especially because we are a family-run company. We like to feel that our products are made with passion and are enjoyed by others in our community, connecting us through the love of food,” said Delite Bakery owner Brittany Despi.

Shop Small is proudly backed by American Express. The Office of Economic Development worked with Indie Genius Media, Story 2 Cooperative Design Studio, OutSide Thinc and social media consultant Audrey Tamberg to design this year’s campaign.

Follow the Office of Economic Development on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to watch the campaign unfold throughout the shopping season and to get details on how to participate.

*These activities are not sponsored, administered or endorsed by American Express.

SassyBlack promotional video in West Seattle

Sylvia O’Stayformore promotional video in Georgetown

Tarik Abdullah promotional video in Beacon Hill

Mayor Jenny Durkan promotional video in Capitol Hill