Holiday shoppers seeking great deals will find them throughout Southwest Michigan (SWMI), on Black Friday, November 24, and Small Business Saturday, November 25.

“You will easily find gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list from our merchants, restaurants and entertainment venues,” said Amy Zapal, executive director of St. Joe Today. “From the latest fashions to locally made wines and candies, to gourmet foods, to award-winning toys and games to museum memberships to fresh-baked pet biscuits, you will love all the choices for fantastic gifts, for your loved ones and yourself.”

Zapal said another appreciated gift this holiday season is a St. Joe Today (SJT) gift certificate, redeemable at SJT member stores, restaurants and hotels throughout SWMI. They can be purchased at the St. Joe Today Welcome Center, located at 301 State Street in downtown St. Joseph, or online at

SJT acts as a Neighborhood Champion for the American Express national Small Business Saturday campaign and will hand out a limited number of swag items on Saturday, November 25 at the Welcome Center.

“When people shop local with small businesses, they are helping to keep their community thriving. Small businesses are the ones who support the local little league, the local fundraisers and the high school yearbook!” says Lisa Miller, owner of Forever Clean Soap Works, “They are a huge part of the community and they in turn need the support of everyone to stay in business. As a small business owner, I know and recognize my customers and I celebrate and appreciate them on Small Business Saturday. They are a vital part of my business, they are my neighbors and friends. Shopping small keeps businesses in business!”

According to the Civic Economic Study in Grand Rapids, MI when someone spends $100 at a local business, approximately $68 stays in the local community. Melanie Bonenfant, co-owner of G&M Variety, says that shopping small is important to her because, “when you support a local small business, you are strengthening the local economy while receiving personalized customer service. Small businesses add a special charm and character to a downtown area and provide an opportunity to make memories while visiting and shopping at a local business."

Local businesses offering Small Business Saturday specials include 1232 Broad St. Mercantile, Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, Blue Water Boat Rentals (St. Joseph), Box Factory for the Arts, Butter, a Bespoke Bakeshop, Caffe Tosi, Dad's Farm & Cafe, DK Boutique, Forever Books, Forever Clean Soap Works, G&M Variety, Gallery on the Alley, Glik's, Grins of St. Joseph, Harbor Town Interiors, House of Colour Southwest Michigan, JLN Studio, Lazy Ballerina Winery, Lee & Birch, Maxwell Boutique, Oh My Darlings, Olive Cart, Perennial Accents, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, St. Joe Today, State Street Stuff, Sticky Spoons Jam, Sweet Haven Candy, The Candlestick Maker, The Christmas Tree, The Salvation Army - Benton Harbor, Vineyard 2121, Waterfront House of Framing & Fashion, White Pine Winery, Wolf's Marine and many more! For a full list of shops and Small Business Saturday specials, visit

To make the most of the giving season, SJT is excited to host Countdown to New Year, a daily giveaway event throughout the month of December! Shoppers earn one entry per $25 purchase (one time or cumulative) at an SJT member business. Qualifying purchases must be made between November 17 and December 17 - earn double points for shopping on Luminary (November 17), Window Wonderland (November 17), Small Business Saturday (November 25) and the Reindog Parade (December 2). Additional qualifying purchases include SJT Gift Certificates and St. Joe Winter Beer Fest tickets (on sale at 10:00a December 1). Receipts for purchases must be presented to an SJT staff member at the Welcome Center by December 17. Participants will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to a local SWMI business. Visit for more information.

Additionally, shoppers and diners alike will enjoy a magical experience this winter season while downtown. Beautiful winter lights and festive holiday music throughout downtown St. Joseph will enhance the holiday atmosphere. The lights will remain up through February in conjunction with Light up the Bluff (December 1 through February 15).

Catch these additional upcoming St. Joe Today winter events:

Countdown to New Year: November 17-December 17 Small Business Saturday: November 25 (All Day) Merry & Bright Weekend: December 1-3 (All Weekend) Reindog Holiday Parade: December 2 (3:00p) Santa Series: December 2-23 (Select Dates/Time