Winterfest/SBS kicked off Christmas season in Yuma

It was a mixed bag of results for Yuma merchants on the official first weekend of the Christmas shopping season.
Winterfest/Small Business Saturday — sponsored by the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, participating businesses and organizations — definitely was a big hit. Vehicles lined both sides of downtown for three blocks Saturday morning as shoppers visited the various businesses.
“Small Business Saturday was one of the biggest events that the Chamber has planned in a long time,” Director Arturo Moran said. “It took a lot of time and participation from many businesses and community members to get this to happen.”
He related that some shop owners told him that it was one of the highest-grossing days they had in a long time.
“I also got word from community members saying they are very thankful that we are able to get new and fun activities to happen,” he said.
It included snowball drops, a dance performance, a book give-away, chair massages, kids crafts, meeting with Santa, and rides on classic firetrucks. Food trucks also were set up on Main St.
Chamber Board President said the Chamber is always looking for input and ideas to help leverage the Chamber’s resources “into the most lucrative outcome for the community.”
“At this time, we are soliciting feedback to understand what went well on Saturday and what we can improve on for next year,” she shared. “We would greatly appreciate it if anyone with input would reach out to our director Arturo Moran ([email protected]), any board member (Megan Hansen, Michael Dischner, Tracy Hardesty, Candy Gilliland, Bob Carpio, Crystal Mitchell), or myself ([email protected]).”
She said the Chamber is working on maintaining a calendar of activities that persists throughout the year. The next focus is to pull people from out of town to these activities, “so we are bringing out-of-town dollars into the community on a regular basis.” She noted that for Small Business Saturday, the Chamber advertised in Wray, Yuma, Otis and Akron, as well as on Facebook.
Jay Flaming of Jay Flaming Jewelers said he was very pleased with the traffic seen downtown.
Lu Ella owner Krissy King said, “We were really busy. Definitely Black Friday was an awesome day.”
She said they had a lot of women customers on Friday, the saw more couples come in on Small Business Saturday.”
Lyndsey Galles of The Home Place and The Broken Vase said it was nice to see everybody out on Main St. However, she said sales were down quite a bit compared to the previous five years.
Wildlee owner Megan Hansen said, “For me, this last weekend was amazing, a great turn out. The best part was seeing everyone’s smiling faces and laughter! I personally couldn’t of asked for a better start to the holiday season.
All area businesses continue to be open during regular business hours. There still is plenty of time left to shop locally as three weeks remain before Christmas.

Business lighting contest
Several businesses throughout town have teamed up with the Yuma High School FBLA for the Yuma Businesses Window Light Display Contest, and continues through Saturday.
The list of participating businesses, which also serves as the ballot, can be found in this edition of the Pioneer, as well as at the Chamber website and Facebook page. Ballots also are available at the businesses. Ballots are to be turned in at Shop-All by 8 p.m., Saturday, December 3.