BEMIDJI -- The month of September will be a rewarding one for businesses and customers alike thanks to a new promotion by the Bemidji Downtown Alliance.

With assistance from the Bemidji Alliance, the BDA created the Shop Small, Give Big campaign, where guests at downtown establishments will be able to enter a drawing to earn prizes, including gift cards.

According to BDA President Annie Butler Ricks, the group bought $500 worth of gift cards, and some participating businesses have donated items, bringing the total value of prizes to more than $800.

“We created the campaign to let people know that businesses are open and they’re open safely,” Butler Ricks said. “We want to support them during this time.”

Entering into the drawing is all being conducted digitally through a customer’s cell phone. While no actual purchase is necessary to scan the code at a store and enter, Butler Ricks said the effort is to encourage more shopping.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

An individual can enter the drawing at participating businesses once a week. At retail stores, the app adding people to the drawing will automatically enter the customer twice.

“Those who shop at retail stores will be entered double because we really want to support those downtown shops,” Butler Ricks said. “Earlier in the pandemic, we of course needed to eat still, and during the Gifts of Hope campaign, the gift cards for restaurants sold out really quickly, whereas it took longer for retail stores.”

Participating businesses in the campaign are:

  • 218 Clothing and Gift.
  • A Stitch in Time.
  • Ann Jean Boutique.
  • Bar 209.
  • Bemidji Brewing.
  • Bemidji Woolen Mills.
  • Big River Scoop.
  • Bill Caddy Photography.
  • Books ‘N More.
  • Boutique Boudoir.
  • Cantabria Coffee Co.
  • Compass Rose.
  • Downtown Meats.
  • Dunn Bros. Coffee.
  • Fozzie’s Smokin Bar-B-Q.
  • Gallery North.
  • Grandma’s Attic.
  • Keg ‘N Cork.
  • Loide Oils & Vinegars.
  • Lucky Dogs.
  • Minnesota Nice Cafe.
  • Minute59.
  • MJB Home Center.
  • myBemidji.
  • Patterson’s Clothing Store.
  • Paul Bunyan Sub Shop.
  • Red Stu Breakfast Bar.
  • Sadie Rae’s Quilt Shop.
  • Table for 7.
  • The Cabin Cafe.
  • The Hanger.
  • The Queen Bees.
  • The T-Shirt Shop.
  • VRTX Laserworks Studio.
  • Watermark Art Center
  • Wild Hare Bistro and Coffeehouse.
  • Yellow Umbrella.

For more information, visit Along with the BDA, the Bemidji Alliance includes the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Bemidji Economic Development, and Visit Bemidji.