Downtown Bentonville brings back Shop the Block program to celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25

Small businesses to get boost

Ethan Gibbs, a bicycle mechanic with Phat Tire Bike Shop, installs brakes Friday on a bike in the shop in Bentonville. Downtown Bentonville is bringing back a program in which they give people free money to spend at local businesses downtown. Phat Tire is a participating business. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Ethan Gibbs, a bicycle mechanic with Phat Tire Bike Shop, installs brakes Friday on a bike in the shop in Bentonville. Downtown Bentonville is bringing back a program in which they give people free money to spend at local businesses downtown. Phat Tire is a participating business. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)


BENTONVILLE -- Downtown Bentonville Inc. is bringing back Shop the Block.

The nonprofit plans to distribute $10,000 worth of "downtown dollars" to local families for free to celebrate Small Business Saturday, according to a news release.

Shop the Block began in 2020, came back in 2021, but was not held in 2022, according to the group. The event is focused on helping local businesses during the holiday season and on giving families the chance to grab a unique Christmas gift at a local store.

Small Business Saturday is this Saturday . American Express founded the event in 2010, and the U.S. Small Business Administration began as a cosponsor in 2011, according to the administration's website.

The American Express 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey showed 72% of shoppers said Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop and dine at small, independently owned retailers and restaurants all year long. Overall, Small Business Saturday drove an estimated $17.9 billion in spending based on projections from U.S. consumer reported spending.

Registered Shop the Block participants will receive 20 downtown dollars to spend like cash at participating businesses and restaurants through the close of business Saturday, according to the release.

"Shop the Block is more than just shopping; it's a community effort to support the resilience of our small businesses," said Downtown Bentonville Executive Director Dana Schlagenhaft. "It's an investment in our downtown, a nod to our entrepreneurial spirit and a celebration of downtown Bentonville's unique character. We're not just boosting sales; we're strengthening the heart of our community."

There are 208 downtown businesses, according to Downtown Bentonville Inc.

Starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, families can register at downtownbentonville.org for $20 worth of downtown dollars. There is only one registration per family. It will be first come, first served.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, families can pick up the dollars at the Downtown Bentonville Inc. tent on the downtown square, according to the release. The dollars can be used at participating downtown businesses Saturday.

Funds were provided in part by the Walmart Museum, according to the release.

The original museum site downtown is being renovated. The museum is temporarily located in the Ledger two blocks south of the square, according to its Facebook page.

No change will be given, according to the release.

"Visit Bentonville has done something really special that will result in some very good traffic downtown," Ben Falkner with Phat Tire Bike Shop said. "We have a lot of really great stores downtown. It's really neat what Downtown Bentonville has done."

Visit downtownbentonville.org for more information.

  photo  Ethan Gibbs, a bicycle mechanic with Phat Tire Bike Shop, installs brakes Friday on a bike in the shop in Bentonville. Downtown Bentonville is bringing back a program in which they give people free money to spend at local businesses downtown. Phat Tire is a participating business. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Cade Boyd (from left), Arthur Gentry and Trey Boyd of Jonesboro purchase clothes Friday at Phat Tire Bike Shop in Bentonville. Downtown Bentonville is bringing back a program in which the organization gives people free money to spend at local businesses downtown. Phat Tire is a participating business. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for todays photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Ethan Gibbs, a bicycle mechanic with Phat Tire Bike Shop, installs brakes Friday on a bike in the shop in Bentonville. Downtown Bentonville is bringing back a program in which the organization gives people free money to spend at local businesses downtown. Phat Tire is a participating business. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for todays photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)