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Catonsville businesses launch marketing campaign for holidays

Catonsville businesses launch marketing campaign for holidays

As the holiday shopping season begins this week on Black Friday, Catonsville's small businesses are looking for ways to lure consumers away from the large chain stores and online shopping.

Hoping to help attract shoppers to the Frederick Road corridor, which business owners say offers a different kind of experience, the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce will launch a year-long marketing effort Nov. 28.

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The debut of "Shop the 'Ville' " will be on Small Business Saturday and will feature a giveaway of the royal blue cloth bags with the campaign's tagline during the annual Tree Lighting Celebration at the Santa House on Frederick Road.

Shoppers can bring the bags to participating businesses displaying square decals in their shop windows and receive discounted or free items, said Karen Gatzke, co-chair of the chamber's Economic Development Committee that organized the event.

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As of Nov. 20, there were 28 Catonsville businesses participating, including Rutland Beard Floral Group, Bark! Pawsitive Pet Food, Cosmic Comix and Toys, Objects Found, Slow Burns Cigar Shoppe & Smoking Lounge, Coldwell Banker and Narcissus Salon.

"We decided to do it around the holidays to encourage people to stay local and shop local," said Kristen Leister, 36, who co-chaired the committee.

Leister said local residents should support Catonsville businesses because "the money stays in the community."

"People in Catonsville love this town so much and I think it's a really easy way to give back," Leister said, who co-owns Narcissus Salon on Bloomsbury Avenue.

Allison Glascock, the owner of Blue Iris Flowers on Frederick Road, said her business will offer a discount during the campaign.

"People are getting ready to buy presents for Christmas, so this keeps them wanting to spend their money locally rather than at big box stores," said Glascock, 26, a member of the chamber. "It's all about the timing."

Glascock said over the three-and-a-half years that she has owned her flower business, she has seen an "uptick in foot traffic on Frederick Road."

"I really think Catonsville is getting on the map for people looking for a place to shop," Glascock said.

The campaign follows a successful summer season during which the chamber hosted the Frederick Road Fridays free concerts series and there was a monthly Family Time Festival Concert series at Strawberry Fields on Frederick Road.

"They've done a marvelous job. The downtown business district in Catonsville has been very successful," said Terrance Nolan, president of the Arbutus Business and Professional Association.

Scott Westcoat, owner of the Hub & C'Ville Bikes on Frederick Road at Strawberry Fields, said the campaign is an extension of those concert events aimed at drawing shoppers to Frederick Road..

"We all realize there is power in numbers," said Westcoat, who opened his business in 2012. "If someone is going to come down to one of these businesses, they're probably going to shop at another."

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Both Gatzke and Leister said in the past five years, business has improved along the Frederick Road corridor.

"Maybe five years ago, you didn't see people walking up and down the street," Leister said. "Now when the weather is nice, on a fall day, you see that."

Gatzke is a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker on Frederick Road and creator of the Facebook page, "We Love Catonsville", a marketing campaign that promotes the town.

"I think Catonsville has definitely had a resurgence, especially in the last few years," Gatzke said. "That's really when we started to get some great restaurants and that's always a draw for people."

All chamber businesses in Catonsville are welcome to participate, Leister said.

"It's not just Frederick Road — they can shop all of the 'Ville," Leister said, alluding to businesses along Baltimore National Pike and Edmondson Avenue.

The campaign involves radio advertisements, billboards and lamp post banners on Frederick Road, said Teal Cary, executive director of the chamber.In total, it will cost over $27,000 and will be paid for with funds raised by the Catonsville 2020 Committee, by the chamber and two commercial revitalization grants from Baltimore County, Cary said.

One of the three billboards will be placed on Frederick Road near Ellicott City during the holidays to encourage shoppers leaving Howard County and heading toward Baltimore County to shop at Catonsville's local businesses, Cary said.

To find more about the campaign, go to catonsville.org/shoptheville.

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