Friday, December 8, 2006

As the spirit moves

Retailers and restaurants team up to help nonprofit groups

Express Staff Writer

Spirit is an oft-used word to describe and encourage festivities over the holiday season. Coming together to promote the wealth of retail stores and restaurants in the valley, "Share the Spirit" began yesterday and will run through Sunday, Dec. 10. Sponsored by the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau among other valley-based entities, the program asked businesses to participate by contributing a portion of their sales to valley-based charities. By supporting local businesses, shoppers can also support specific charities.

It's a match dreamt up by Silver Creek Outfitters owner Terry Ring, who enlisted the support of Debbie Burns, owner of Burnsie's Boca fashion boutique and a Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission member. She took the idea to Stefanie Mahoney, the chamber's membership and visitor services manager. Fortuitously, Mahoney was already working on ways to enhance the efforts of the Ketchum Retailers' Alliance.

"We decided to do a whole chamber-wide event, not limited to chamber members," Burns said. "We wanted to pull the whole valley into an annual giving program, shopping early and locally, while giving something back to nonprofits."

In addition, retail businesses give all year long to charities by donating goods as raffle prizes, Burns said. "It goes hand in hand with the spirit of buying and giving at the same time. This is the biggest show of restaurants and retail in a very long time, and I feel this is a start of a bigger coalition of working together, valley wide."

The 32 participating businesses each have a non-profit to which it will be donating its portion. For instance, Iconoclast Books will donate to the Company of Fools and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, as is Polka Dot. Trail Creek Pub will donate to Galena Lodge and North Valley Trails and Silver Creek Outfitters will donate to the Wood River Land Trust. Burnsie's will contribute to Wood River Ride Share. Akasha Organics will help the Environmental Resource Center, and Felix, Globus and Rico's will all donate money to the Family Connection Project.

Rustic Elegance, Jane's, Isabel's Needlepoint, Sturtevant's and Will Caldwell Gallery all will contribute to The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence. The Dream Catcher, Ketchum Dry Goods and Sun Valley Bootleggers will contribute to Sun Valley Adaptive Sports.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony will benefit from the sales at R.S.V.P. and Sun Valley Eyeworks.

Other participating business are: Backwoods Mountain Sports (Idaho Rivers United), Taylormade Pottery (Animal Shelter), Main Street T's (Hospice), Worth Repeating (Camp Rainbow Gold), Chapter One Bookstore (Mountain Wellness), East Avenue Bistro (Wood River YMCA), The Body Buff (St. Charles Mercy Pantry and Outreach), Lost River Outfitters (Wood River Legacy), Notes Music Store (Wood River High School Music Department) and The Dollhouse (Wood River High School Arts Department).

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