There is a new city-wide campaign focused on engaging visitors, shoppers and residents about why they are passionate about the City of Alexandria’s local shopping, restaurants, arts and more. Kicking off in time for Small Business Saturday and the holiday season, #CraveYourLocal is a grassroots campaign that provides a platform for individuals to voice their cravings for the unique qualities that draw them to Alexandria to shop, dine and explore the city’s authentic culture and history.
“Nearly 2/3 of travelers want ‘the real destination’ rather than a commercial tourism product,” said Patricia Washington, President & CEO of Visit Alexandria. “In addition, 70% of American consumers will be shopping at local small businesses and boutiques this holiday season. We want to honor these trends by sharing the authentically local assets and elements that people crave year-round in our beloved city.” (Sources: Destination Analysts State of American Traveler July 2015; Deloitte 2015 Holiday Survey).
The public is invited to share what they crave about Alexandria’s local scene by using the hashtag #CraveYourLocal. An example Tweet would be “I crave the personal attention I get at @BellaCaraVA #CraveYourLocal.” Instagram photos might be captioned “I crave my daily caffeine from Misha’s Coffee! #CraveYourLocal” and “I crave biking to Jones Point Park during sunset. #CraveYourLocal”
Alexandria is gearing up for the kick-off of the holiday season with their Black Friday (Nov. 27) and Small Business Saturday (Nov. 28) events. Since the launch of the city’s efforts six years ago, Alexandria has seen an increase of patrons who are choosing to “Shop Small” on days that were historically dominated by big box stores. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales are expected to grow by 3.7% in 2015. 70% of American consumers will be shopping at local small businesses and boutiques this holiday season. The top reasons for these shoppers to shop local are to support the local economy and find one-of-a-kind gifts. (Source: Deloitte 2015 Holiday Survey) 80% of the shops and restaurants on King Street (in Old Town) and on Mount Vernon Avenue (in Del Ray) are independently owned.
Below outlines the City’s activities next weekend. New this year is Alexandria’s Random Acts of Holiday Cheer promotion, from Monday, November 23, to Small Business Saturday, November 28.
Random Acts of Holiday Cheer include:
Scottie Dog Prize Hunt (Nov. 23-28) – Several stuffed animal Scottie dogs will be placed throughout Old Town and Del Ray with each having a prize attached to it from an Alexandria business. Follow Visit Alexandria’s social media channels to find clues of where the dogs are hidden. Individuals participating in the hunt are encouraged to hashtag #ALXscottie and #ExtraordinaryALX.
Elf Prize Patrol (Nov. 28 – Small Business Saturday) – Holiday elves hitting the streets giving out prizes throughout Old Town & Del Ray
FA, LA, LA, LA, LA (Nov. 28 – Small Business Saturday) – Busker-style caroling by the Alexandria Singers throughout the streets of Old Town
Swag Bag Giveaway (Nov. 28 – Small Business Saturday) – Alexandria Chamber of Commerce will be handing out approximately 250 bags filled with gift cards and goodies from Alexandria businesses at Market Square in Old Town from 9AM-12PM, and in Del Ray in front of the Holy Cow restaurant from 12-1PM.
Spot A Bag Contest (Nov. 28 – Small Business Saturday) – In partnership with the Old Town Boutique District there will also be a “Spot The Bag” contest – individuals spotted toting shopping bags from one of our Alexandria boutiques, will be selected to win special prizes.
NOVEMBER 27 – BLACK FRIDAY ALEXANDRIA: 6 a.m. Sales and Free Parking
Black Friday Alexandria returns Friday, November 27th, with over 50 independent boutiques opening early to kick off the shopping season with one-of-a-kind shopping deals on designer and coveted merchandise, including home décor, chic fashions, gourmet food, classic toys and gifts for dogs. Most participating stores will open at 6 a.m. offering 30% discounts from 6 to 8 a.m., 20% from 8 to 10 a.m., and 10% starting at 10 a.m. Store offers may vary.
The City of Alexandria is offering free parking at parking meters and City-owned garages as a special incentive for shoppers on Black Friday. The Free King Street Trolley will begin operating at 6 a.m. so shoppers can visit more shops and bag even more bargains.
After the shopping is done, stay for the popular City of Alexandria Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on the historic Market Square. As the official kick-off to the holiday season in Alexandria, the ceremony includes live entertainment, a special visit from Santa Claus, and community caroling.
NOVEMBER 28 – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Alexandria Deals and Activities
Alexandria is the DC region’s Shop Small headquarters for Small Business Saturday. Locally owned boutiques throughout Alexandria will offer special promotions, including merchandise discounts, gifts with purchase, complimentary services, treats, and/or festive activities for shoppers to enjoy. New this year, Random Acts of Holiday Cheer will surprise Alexandria shoppers with an elf prize patrol, busker-style caroling in the streets, a swag bag giveaway, and the “Spot a Bag” contest.