CHAZY - The Northern Tier is getting into the holiday spirit, and local businesses are leading the way.
The first-ever Northern Tier Holiday Open House Tour will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 21, starting at 10 a.m. both days, showcasing small businesses in and around the Chazy area.
Carolyn Tetreault, owner of The Station Caf and Gifts, is one of the organizers behind the event, which was put together to encourage people to think local when shopping this holiday season.
"We want people to visit the different businesses up our way before they get into the heavy shopping season," explained Tetreault. "We want people to see it's worth the trip to come up or down or across or whatever way they have to to visit us."
Several businesses have signed on to participate in the event, including North Country Floral and Gifts, Hairstyles Unlimited, Amazing Grace Winery, Vescoridge Vineyards, and the Chazy branch of TD Bank.
"It's nothing too elaborate. We're inviting people in, putting on some Christmas music," said Tetreault. "Basically, giving people a chance to get familiar with what we have to offer."
Even though the focus of the tour is to get people excited about shopping locally, Tetreault said she and her fellow business owners have found a way to sweeten the pot for people who come out for the event.
"We're going to give shoppers cards that they can have stamped at each business, and, for every stamp they have, they'll get an entry to win a gift basket that we're all going to contribute to," said Tetreault, who added special sales and discounts will also be offered at different locations on the tour.
Tetreault said she's also hoping to reach out to people's generosity by collecting donations of toys and money for the The Christmas Bureau, a nonprofit organization which helps low-income families in Clinton County who are in need at Christmastime.
Though the event is originating in Chazy, Tetreault said she hopes it will go beyond the hamlet's borders.
"We figured by calling it the Northern Tier Holiday Open House Tour, if anyone between here and Rouses Point wants to get involved with it, they can and we can update our list as we go along," she said.
Regardless of how many other businesses choose to participate or not, Tetreault said she wants to at least get people thinking about shopping at places other than big box retailers.
"It's definitely more personalized with us and the ambience is more conducive to the holiday spirit as opposed to the mad rush of the bigger stores," she said. "It's that small town feel. It's supporting local businesses. That's important."
For more information about the Northern Tier Holiday Open House Tour, contact Tetreault at 846-7245.