PLATTSBURGH — Irises Cafe & Wine Bar will be dishing out local crafts this Saturday.

Coinciding with nationally-recognized Small Business Saturday, the downtown eatery will be hosting its annual artisan fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The event, on its eighth year, will feature 12 local artists and their goods. 

Owner & Operator Carol McLean thought the fair, which attracts hundreds of patrons each year, mixed with Small Business Saturday did well to raise awareness for local businessmen and women. 

"I think it's great to have a day that celebrates what we do all year round," the local restaurant owner said. "Especially during the holiday season.

"If you have a choice to make, it really does make a difference if you give your money to local businesses," she continued.

"All of my employees take their paychecks and then they go and spend it in our community."

THE HISTORY

It was multinational financial group American Express that jump-started the "Shop Small" movement. 

In 2010, at the tail end of the Great Recession, American Express held its first Small Business Saturday on the weekend following Thanksgiving. 

The move meant to encourage holiday shoppers to spend at local shops, rather than solely scouring major department stores on Black Friday or web sales on Cyber Monday.

According to American Express, by 2018, more than 7,500 individuals and organizations signed up to advocate for Small Business Saturday events in their communities. 

"American Express cares deeply about thriving communities and believes small businesses are at the core of every successful neighborhood," the group's website says. 

"In fact, for every $1 spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately $0.67 stays in the local community."

SCAVENGING SHOPS

The North Country Chamber of Commerce kept a log of the region's participating Small Business Saturday locations and, by the middle of the week, had nearly 50 businesses listed. 

The local chamber operates within New York's Clinton, Essex, Franklin and northern Warren counties, as well as southern Quebec. 

Servicing some 3,200 members of the business community, it sits among the state's five largest chambers and offers assistance in various sectors, including that of economic development, small business support and tourism promotion.

The North Country Chamber of Commerce listed itself as a neighborhood champion of the "Shop Small" initiative and has decided to host a Small Business Saturday Scavenger Hunt, a news release says, "to add a little extra challenge and some friendly competition."

Using the chamber's Scavenger Hunt list as a guide, which prompts participants to take photos with various products and objects, participants earn points for uploading qualifying photos to their Instagram and/or Facebook feeds. 

A sheet checking off 10 or more points can be returned to the chamber by Friday, Dec. 6 for the chance to win local products.  

The scavenger hunt list can be found at the chamber's outdoor kiosk at 7061 U.S. 9 in the City of Plattsburgh, at a participating business or online at northcountrychamber.com/sbs.

MINGLING AROUND

The artisan fair at Irises, located at 20 to 22 City Hall Place in the City of Plattsburgh, had its first year in 2011. 

McLean said it was a local singer/songwriter and crafter who approached the restaurant owner with the idea. 

The event, free to participants, charges vendors a fee for advertising costs and the fair's complimentary snacks. 

"We use our booths, take all of the chairs out of the dining room and create little stations," McLean said. "The bar is open for drinks, so people usually grab a glass of wine and mingle around.

"The artists do all of the work, I just provide the place." 

PAY IT FORWARD

McLean said visitors can expect the dining room to feature a wide variety of goods on Saturday. 

"There's painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, candles — a little bit of everything," she said. "I think it's great to showcase it. 

"A lot of people go for ease," the restaurant owner continued. "It's very easy to just click and buy something online.

"It's great when people actually take the time to come downtown and to really show their support for local businesses. It really pays it forward."

 

Email McKenzie Delisle: 

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

TAKING PART

By Wednesday afternoon, just over 40 local businesses were listed as Small Business Saturday participants by the North Country Chamber of Commerce, including: 

• Lakeside Coffee in Rouses Point. 

• Valley Vending Service Inc. in Plattsburgh. 

• Mobil 1 Lube Express in Plattsburgh. 

• Adirondack Cider House at Elf's Farm in Plattsburgh. 

• Adirondack Breathe Easy Salt Cave in Peru. 

• D&D Meats in West Chazy. 

• Bechard's Sugar House in West Chazy. 

• Kidstructive Fun in Plattsburgh. 

• Celtic Crafters Handmade in Plattsburgh. 

• Chazy Orchards in Chazy. 

• Yarborough Square in Peru. 

• Cumberland 12 Cinemas in Plattsburgh. 

• Clinton County Historical Association Museum in Plattsburgh. 

• Greer Cicarelli Photography in Plattsburgh. 

• Flatware CreationSS in Champlain. 

• Beckies Beautiful Baubles in Champlain. 

• Murray's Fools Distilling Company in Altona. 

• Vivid Fiber Arts in Plattsburgh. 

• Halcyon Massage in Plattsburgh. 

• Vesco Ridge Vineyards in West Chazy. 

• Rulf's Orchard in Peru. 

• Lake Champlain Pools in Plattsburgh. 

• Adirondack Tack in Plattsburgh. 

• Oval Craft Brewing in Plattsburgh. 

• Chapter One: Coffee & Tea in Plattsburgh. 

• Parker Family Maple Farm in West Chazy. 

• Historic Saranac Lake/The Saranac Laboratory Museum in Saranac Lake. 

• Dragon's Keep Plushies at https://www.facebook.com/DragonsKeepPlushToys/.

• Irises Café and Wine Bar in Plattsburgh. 

• The Bagel Pit in Plattsburgh. 

• Archer Bodyworks in Plattsburgh. 

• Ausable Brewing Company in Keeseville. 

• Mallory Leonard Photography at https://www.malloryleonardphotography.com/.

• Highlands Vineyard in Keeseville. 

• Pink zebra get sprinkled with Shannon at https://www.facebook.com/Get-Sprinkled-With-Shannon-Independent-Consultant-102040761204747/.

• Kinetic Running in Plattsburgh. 

• Maui North Ski, Bike & Board in Plattsburgh. 

• Cumberland Market in Plattsburgh. 

• La Quinta Inn & Suites in Plattsburgh. 

• Medusa Gaming in Plattsburgh. 

The list of promotions at each location can be found at http://northcountrychamber.com/Events/shopsmall.

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