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Shoppers encouraged to 'Go West' Saturday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, but Charleston's West Side wants its turn Saturday.

West Side Main Street and several businesses from the area are teaming up this weekend for an event meant to encourage shoppers to buy locally from their stores.

The "Go West! Shop Local" event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

"We're thinking of it as the Black Friday of the West Side," said Stephanie Johnson, executive director of West Side Main Street. "It's really just an opportunity to encourage the Charleston residents to shop locally on the West Side. We have very unique businesses. It's really an opportunity for people to head over here and see what great things we have to offer."

During the event a KRT trolley -- complete with Santa Claus -- will transport shoppers to stores in the neighborhood. The Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority is donating its services free that day, Johnson said.

"It was a very generous donation on their behalf," she said.

So far 12 West Side businesses have agreed to participate by offering special one-day sales, Johnson said.

"We anticipate having definitely more [businesses sign up] this week," she said.

Johnson is encouraging businesses to participate in a window-decorating contest. Shoppers will judge the windows and vote for their favorites. The winning business will get their 2013 WSMS annual dues waived as well as a gift package.

The winner will be announced at 3 p.m. at Kelley's Men's Shop at Washington and Pennsylvania streets. Also at 3 p.m. will be a tree-lighting ceremony with hot chocolate, carolers and photos with Santa.

This is the first time that West Side Main Street has hosted such an event, Johnson said. She envisions having events like this one twice a year -- once at Christmas time and another during the summer. Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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