Introducing: Holidays on MaiN

Holidays on MaiNIt’s almost that time of year: the Holiday season. For me, the Holiday season evokes memories of good times with great food, family, and friends. But before any of those festivities take place, I’m swamped with a long chore and shopping list. We’ve all been there: last minute gift shopping for your picky mother or trying to find the perfect gift for the friend who already has everything. Gift list packed, we flock to crowded and understaffed department stores in hopes of completing our holiday shopping with little regard to how our Holiday shopping traditions affect our Holiday experience and our economy.

Thus, in hopes of providing an overall more positive Holiday shopping experience, we at Minnesota Main Street are launching the Holidays on MaiN challenge. Holidays on MaiN is a statewide campaign challenging residents of Minnesota to spend 75% of their holiday shopping dollars in Minnesota’s downtown districts, including the Main Street Communities of Brainerd, Faribault, New Ulm, Red Wing, and Willmar.

We launched Holidays on MaiN to remind Minnesotans of the unique shopping experiences available to them right in their own back yard and that where they spend their money matters. Holidays on MaiN is all about experiencing your community and supporting your local economy.

Shopping in your local downtown is a unique experience. When shopping at an independent and locally owned business, I know that I’m going to get great costumer service from an employee—or even better, a business owner—who truly cares about the livelihood of the store, knows what they’re talking about, and can help me make the best decision when shopping. Local and small businesses provide an excellent, informative, and more personal shopping experience that can reduce the stress that I associate with shopping at stores on the edge of town.

Equally important, supporting these local businesses during the holiday season has an enormous influence in the local economy and community. Not only is shopping local a better experience for you, it also is extremely beneficial for your community. Holidays on MaiN reminds Minnesotans that when you support their downtown businesses—whether it’s downtown Minneapolis, Faribault, Willmar, or a one-block-long Main Street—you’re usually spending money with locally based small businesses. At the most basic level, when you buy local, more money stays within the community. The benefits of buying local are indisputable:

  • When a customer spends $1 at a local, independent business, an average of 68 cents is re-circulated into the local economy. In contrast, for every $1 spent at a national chain store, only 43 cents stays in the community1
  • If Minnesotans spent ¼ of their holiday budget on items made in Minnesota, more than $2 billion would trickle into the state’s economy2
  • Shopping locally generates more tax revenues, creates more jobs, and reduces transportation costs and CO2 emissions

So, this Holiday season, I challenge you—yes, you!—to take our Holidays on MaiN challenge. Pledge to spend at least 75% of your holiday shopping in your local downtown. Encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to participate by shopping in your downtown and taking a photo of your favorite holiday tradition or downtown store and posting it on the Holidays on MaiN Facebook Page. With your participation, we can make the Holidays an even more wonderful time of the year!
I assure you that if you do, you’ll have a more enjoyable and relaxed Holiday shopping experience.

Virginie Nadimi
Minnesota Street Intern

1Anderson Study of Retail Economics, by Civil Economics, Oct. 2004 and MN Department of Revenue, Gross Retail Sales for 2003.
2MN20/20. Made in MN 2008: Boosting Minnesota’s Economy in Tough Economic Times.


Minnesota Main Street has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.


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