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Holiday Shopping Marathon kicks off Sunday

Photo courtesy / Katie Ryan-Anderson These Christmas ornaments are examples of the ornaments shoppers will find in Jamestown businesses that are part of the Holiday Shopping Marathon prize ticket drawing.

By Chris Olson

The Jamestown Sun

Katie Ryan-Anderson came up with the idea of the Holiday Shopping Marathon last year after hearing a news story about online shopping.

The inaugural Holiday Shopping Marathon kicks off at 3 p.m. Sunday as part of the annual Christmas Boutique Craft and Gift Show at the Jamestown Civic Center. The marathon runs from Sunday through Nov. 29, for 26 days, the same number of miles a person would run in a marathon.

“We chose Nov. 29 because that is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when people start their holiday shopping,” she said.

The objective of the marathon project is to get Jamestown shoppers to stop by and explore local businesses in Jamestown and see what those businesses have to offer.

Ryan-Anderson, manager of member communications for Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, said she was listening to a news story last year about Black Friday shopping trends and was surprised to learn that more than $1 billion was spent online alone in the U.S. on Black Friday.

That got her thinking about the importance of shopping local, something she tries to do as often as she can.

Earlier this year Ryan-Anderson contacted some friends, people who get together and talk about different community issues.  The group came up with a campaign to encourage shopping locally for the holidays.

Keeping locally-earned dollars in the community is one of the motivations for the marathon.

“Every dollar spent at home (Jamestown) doesn’t leave here, it gets used here,” Ryan-Anderson said.

Shop local

Pam Fosse, director of the Jamestown Civic Center, said she has been involved with the marathon project since Ryan-Anderson sought out people to help organize her idea into a community project.

“I think this (marathon) is an excellent opportunity for Jamestown residents to get out and support their local businesses,” she said.

Fosse said she is excited that the community group that organized the marathon chose the Christmas Boutique Craft and Gift Show as the kick off for the event.

“I think it will be a nice draw to the craft show and it will promote the marathon to people outside of Jamestown,” she said.

Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen said she has been involved with the marathon since the beginning. She said she likes how the marathon came together through a collaborative effort.

“Different groups came together and are accomplishing many goals through this effort,” Andersen said.

She also likes that the event’s prize ticket drawing provides a positive reward for people who decide to take part in the marathon.

“It (the marathon) is fun, it’s topical and it’s a celebration of Jamestown,” she said. “People like to point out what we don’t have, but it’s fun to celebrate what we do have.”

 Jessica Haak, membership director for North Dakota Farmers Union, said the marathon project will give people a chance to see the variety of goods that Jamestown has to offer.

“When you purchase jewelry, people think about places like JC Penney and Walmart,” she said. “Well, did you know that Frontier Fort sells jewelry? There are a lot of examples like that out there,” she said.

The hook

To entice people to participate, a shopper can pick up a prize ticket at the Buffalo Mall business office, the Jamestown Civic Center or the customer service desk at Coborn’s Grocery.

During the marathon people may take the ticket to the 80 or so participating retail businesses. Each business has a special Christmas ornament with a Christmas word on the back hidden somewhere in the business. Shoppers find the ornament and write down the  Christmas word on the ornament on the prize ticket.

The participating businesses are divided into 12 categories. Shoppers wanting to be eligible for weekly prizes and the grand prize must visit at least 10 stores from 10 of the 12 different categories. Each business can only listed once on a prize ticket.

People may enter multiple prize tickets for the prizes, but must meet the criteria to be eligible for the weekly and grand prize drawings.

Completed prize tickets may be turned into the Buffalo Mall business office or the customer service desk at Coborn’s Grocery. The grand prize is $500 in Chamber Bucks from the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Prizes will be drawn each Monday.

Felicia Sargeant, the chamber’s executive director, said the grand prize winner will receive a brochure explaining how the chamber bucks work.

“The brochure includes a list of which chamber members accept Chamber Bucks,” she said.

Searle Swedlund, executive director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation, said the foundation paid for the printing of brochures that explains the marathon project, and includes a list of the participating businesses. The brochure is available at the BCTF office, the Buffalo Mall business office and Coborn’s Grocery.

“Jamestown has great shopping, but it’s different than a big city set-up,” he said. “You can find so many different products in the different businesses here.”

For more information about the marathon, go to dayshoppingmarathon.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454                        or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454