Mayor Walsh Challenges Shoppers to Support Small Businesses During the Holiday Season

On Saturday, November 21, Mayor Martin J. Walsh  kicked off the City of Boston’s annual “Holidays on Main Streets” campaign, a small business initiative to encourage Boston residents to shop local this holiday season.

At the celebration held at POP Allston in the Allston Village Main Street District, Mayor Walsh announced a series of initiatives to drive traffic to local business districts, including the Mayor’s “5 on Main” challenge, the return of the popular Acoustic on Main for the holiday season, and a plan for shoppers to enjoy two free hours of metered parking using the new ParkBoston app on any day of their choice from Friday, November 27 through Saturday, January 2.

“I’m challenging every holiday shopper to enjoy what our Main Street Districts have to offer this holiday season by participating in the ‘5 on Main’ challenge,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our Main Street districts are an important part of our local economy. Out of every dollar spent in a local business district, 58 cents will be returned to that community, fueling our local economies and contributing to more vibrant neighborhoods.”

Mayor Walsh’s “#5onMain” challenge is designed to inspire holiday shoppers to support Main Streets and other local commercial districts during the holiday season. Participants in the challenge pledge to support local businesses at least five times during the holiday season, either purchasing gifts, dining, or participating in local holiday events in Main Streets districts. Holiday shoppers are encouraged to accept the challenge via social media, using the hashtag “#5onMain.”

The Mayor also invited musicians, businesses, and the public to participate once again in the popular Acoustic on Main program during the holiday season in Boston’s Main Streets Districts. Starting on Small Business Saturday, November 28, 2015, Main Streets businesses are encouraged to host local acoustic performances during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m, with up to five musicians or vocalists performing at the same time. The City is supporting this effort by waiving the need for to apply for a live entertainment license or to pay a fee to the City to hold these performances.

This holiday season, the City of Boston is offering residents and visitors the opportunity to park for free for two hours at all 8,000 metered parking spaces on the day of their choice from Friday, November 27th through the end of the day on Saturday, January 2nd. The ParkBoston app must be used and code 617617 should be entered to take advantage of this offer. The free ParkBoston app is available through the App Store or Google Play for iPhone and Android users, and a pay-by-voice option is offered for those without web-enabled phones. Each ParkBoston account will be allowed to use this special code once. ParkBoston users are encouraged to share this information with family and friends so that as many people as possible can visit their favorite restaurant, shop or theater in the City of Boston over the holidays.

The announcement took place at Oliver Best Vintage Market, a weekly multi-vendor market, which is located at POP Allston, a temporary pop-up community space at 89 Brighton Avenue in the Allston Village Main Street District. POP Allston contains a 10,000-square foot free indoor skatepark, pop-up do-it-yourself bicycle repair workshops, and nearly 5,000 square feet of flexible space for additional community uses. POP Allston was created through a collaboration of Allston Village Main Streets, Commonwheels Bicycle Co-Op, Orchard Skateshop, Vivant Vintage, the City of Boston and the building owner, Eden Properties.

Recent data from Deloitte University Press’ 30th Annual Holiday Survey indicates that there will be an increase in consumer holiday spending, with average holiday spending projected at $1,462 in 2015, up from $1,299 in 2014. The survey shows that, although consumers are moving to shopping online, they still prefer to buy locally and in-store to support their local community and economy, find one-of-a-kind gifts, and enjoy the convenience of shopping in their neighborhoods. According to the Small Business Association, nearly half of the working adults in Massachusetts are employed by a small business.

To participate in the Mayor’s Holiday Challenge on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, please use the hashtag #5onMain. In order to help shoppers participate in the Challenge, a list of local Main Streets holiday events will be available at www.holidaysonmainstreets.com. City staff will be monitoring the #5onMain hashtag through the holiday season and retweeting clever and original gift ideas. Draft Tweets for holiday shoppers are available at http://bit.ly/5onMain_2015Tweets, and a package of shareable graphics can be found at http://bit.ly/2015Shareables.

Businesses and musicians who wish to participate in Acoustic On Main for the Holidays can register at the Acoustic on Main website. While businesses and musicians will make decisions regarding compensation for performers, the City of Boston encourages small businesses to support local musicians. Acoustic on Main is made by possible by a partnership between Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development, and the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing.

For a list of Main Streets districts, please visit: http://dnd.cityofboston.gov/#page/Districts

For more about Main Streets, please visit: http://dnd.cityofboston.gov/#page/about_main_streets

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