downtown-schenectady-improvement-corp.JPGPrograms supporting local businesses kick off on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24 Schenectady, N.Y. - The Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) announces several business-themed promotions designed to encourage the community to patronize Downtown Schenectady's many independent shops, restaurants, services and attractions during the 2012 holiday season. The promotions will kick off on November 24 in celebration of Small Business Saturday. Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a day for everyone to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Last year, over 100 million people came out to shop at independently-owned small businesses on the day. Now, in its third year, Small Business Saturday is expected to be even bigger. The DSIC's 2012 holiday business promotions include: Holiday Shopping Pass From November 24 through December 24, downtown shoppers can pick up a Holiday Shopping Pass card at one of 23 participating locations. When a customer completes a purchase, the business will stamp the amount on the card in $5 or $10 increments. When a customer fills up his or her card with a total of $150 in purchases, he or she can drop it off at any participating location by December 24 to be entered to win a $250 Downtown Schenectady shopping spree or a pair of tickets to a performance at Proctors. Customers may fill up multiple cards and enter as often as they like. Participating businesses are: Apostrophe Café, 432 State St.; Bel Cibo Specialty Foods & Gourmet Bites, 166 Jay St.; Café NOLA, 617 Union St.; Deanna's Café, 142 Clinton St.; DeLITEfull CrEATionS, 135 Broadway; Downtown Designs, 177 Jay St.; Experience & Creative Design, Ltd., 510 Union St.; Five Star Frame & Art, 126 Clinton St.; From Here to Antiquity, 439 State St.; Habitat for Humanity- ReStore, 115 N. Broadway; The Happy Cappuccino, 185 Jay St.; Lennon's Irish Shop, 164 Jay St.; Majestic Beauty Salon, 147 Jay St.; Manhattan Exchange, 607 Union St.; Shop at miSci, 15 Nott Terrace Heights; New York Folklore Society, 129 Jay St.; The Open Door Bookstore, 128 Jay St.; Orenda Yoga, 609 Union St.; Orion Boutique, 169 Jay St.; Paul Mitchell: The School, 411 State St.; Tara Kitchen, 431 Liberty St.; Villa Italia Pasticceria, 226 Broadway; Zaria & Bella's Gift Shop, 135 Jay St. Said DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo, "Last year, our Holiday Shopping Pass featured 18 businesses, and more than $55,000 worth of completed cards were returned. With additional participants this year and growing awareness of the importance of supporting local, independent businesses, we hope to surpass last year's total during the 2012 holiday season." Buy Local, Give Local Gift Drive In the spirit of the holidays, the DSIC is also coordinating the first ever Buy Local, Give Local gift drive, from November 24 through December 24. Buy Local, Give Local encourages downtown shoppers to purchase something extra in participating locations to donate to area families in transition. Participating businesses will have special drop boxes in their stores, along with a list of suggested items appropriate for the City Mission of Schenectady's Bridges to Freedom program and the YWCA Northeastern New York's Persimmon Project. Both programs are designed to assist people with life skills, education and career training. Participating businesses are: Anthology Studio, 469 State St.; Café NOLA, 617 Union St.; Experience & Creative Design, 510 Union St.; Ideal Office Center, 146 Jay St.; Lennon's Irish Shop, 164 Jay St.; Majestic Beauty Salon, 147 Jay St.; New York Folklore Society, 129 Jay St.; The Open Door Bookstore, 128 Jay St.; Schenectady County Historical Society, 32 Washington Ave.; and Zaria & Bella's Gift Shop, 135 Jay St. Said City of Mission of Schenectady's Director of Development Elizabeth Chamberlain, "By participating in the Buy Local, Give Local gift drive, Downtown Schenectady businesses are doing something special for our community while generating additional revenue during a critical time of the year. In return, our two organizations are receiving much-needed items to enrich the lives of individuals and families who are working toward a brighter future. It is truly a win-win situation." Holiday Window Decorating Contest To add to the holiday flair within the district, Downtown Schenectady businesses are once again engaging in a friendly competition by creating festive holiday displays in their storefront windows. Visitors can vote for their favorite window by filling out a ballot at any participating location or at the DSIC office at 143 State Street. Everyone who votes will be eligible to win special downtown prizes, and the winning business will receive a congratulatory ad in the Daily Gazette newspaper. Participating businesses are: Anthology Studio, 469 State St.; Café NOLA, 617 Union St.; Capasso & Massaroni LLP, 215 State St.; Deanna's Café, 142 Clinton St.; Edison Tech Center, 136 N. Broadway; From Here to Antiquity, 439 State St.; Ideal Office Center, 146 Jay St.; Lennon's Irish Shop, 164 Jay St.; Majestic Beauty Salon, 147 Jay St.; The Open Door Bookstore, 128 Jay St.; and Zaria & Bella's Gift Shop, 135 Jay St. Each of these promotions will launch in advance of the DSIC's signature holiday event, the Downtown Schenectady Holiday Open House, which takes place on Saturday, December 1 from Noon-5pm. The 9th annual event will feature business specials, music, kids' crafts, horse & carriage rides, demonstrations and much more to help kick off the holiday season in Downtown Schenectady. Sponsorship for the Holiday Open House is provided by Town Square Media, Times Union, KeyBank, Daily Gazette, the City of Schenectady, and the Schenectady County Initiative Program. Complete details soon at www.downtownschenectady.com.

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The Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Schenectady. Our mission is to promote Downtown Schenectady as a premier location for commerce, recreation and living by enhancing, facilitating and supporting economic and cultural growth. Contact: Jim Salengo, Executive Director 518-377-9430 jim@downtownschenectady.com