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"12 Shops of Christmas" promotes small business

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 02 2012 04:17:31 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2012 05:02:06 AM CST

12 shops of Christmas

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

You've heard of the 12 days of Christmas, but what about the 12 shops of Christmas?  A new promotion is showing off small businesses in Northampton County this holiday season.

The stores are busy, the streets are packed, and you can hear your favorite carol.  The holiday shopping season is in high gear.

"We've been shopping all day, I've actually spent a decent amount of money," said Danielle Holzmann.  "Lots of good Christmas gifts."

This family of three generations came armed with cash, as well as something else.

"We're on the 12 shops of Christmas tour," said Tiffany Wismer.

It's a self-guided tour all over Northampton County, featuring 12 small businesses -- the perfect way for this clan to kickstart Christmas shopping.

"We went to Saucon Valley, we tasted some bologna, we went to a floral shop, we've been all around," Wismer shared.

For $7 each, the booklets include a tour and guide map, a chance to win a $300 shopping spree, and coupons for every business.

"We've received like 10% coupons, 30% off."

You might be thinking some business group or the chamber of commerce came up with this idea.  But it was just one woman.

"It was just a lady from Northampton County who came up with this," explained Michelle Horning.  "She's a small business owner and just wanted something new to advertise."

So Horning says she stepped up to the challenge, putting together the 12 shops of Christmas tour based on something she's seen done in Lancaster County.

"It's a win-win for both the businesses and the customers," added Horning.  "The customers get to explore these and discover these new businesses in their area."

In its first year around 200 tour tickets were sold.  Horning hopes the local shops get a boost in business.

"I think we'll return to do some more shopping," said Wismer.

The 12 Shops of Christmas tour kicked off Friday and runs through December 8.