BY SHERI TRUSTY
Five-year-old Quinn Cochran visited with Santa on Saturday, Nov. 26, met two of Santa’s reindeer, and rode in a sleigh around the Bassett’s Hardware and City Market parking lot. It was a big day for Quinn, and she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the horses when the ride ended.
“I wish these horses would take me to school, too,” she said.
Bassett’s hired Pine Acres Carriage Services and Pine Acres Reindeer Farm to provide the unique holiday experience for customers as part of Small Business Saturday, a national endeavor to encourage shoppers to support locally owned businesses.
Shane Sager, who says he is Santa’s number one elf, brought Dancer and Prancer from Pine Acres Reindeer Farm so kids could see a real, live reindeer. He told kids to be sure to leave oats and raisins out on Christmas Eve because that’s what reindeer like to eat, and he shared a little-known secret about Santa’s flying helpers.
“Dancer and Prancer are females. All the males lost their antlers,” he said. “Reindeer need antlers to fly, so all Santa’s reindeer are female.”
Over in downtown Port Clinton, store owners offered specials to the many customers who showed up to support their shops. Port Clinton Candy Company offered special sales on gift cards and handed our free candy canes. Island Sham Farmhouse gave free gift bags to shoppers who purchased $10 or more in hand-poured candles and related items. Shoppers all over town were getting a jump on Christmas shopping by stopping by several locally-owned businesses, including Unique gift shop.
“It’s been great. Groups of ladies are out, having a fun day,” said Unique owner Debbie Coppeler.
Shopper Melinda Fleegle of Findlay walked across downtown carrying several bags full of Christmas gifts and décor. “I bought a lot of Christmas items,” she said. “So far, I’ve shopped at Lilly & Gert’s, Lakeland Design, Northern Exposure and Unique.”