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Effort underway to encourage people to shop small during winter months

What started as a way to get people out of the house during the winter has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic.

SCRANTON, Pa. — February is usually a slow month for small businesses.

"I think people are kind of hibernating," said Kathleen Beckwith, the owner of The Perfected Pineapple.

"It's so cold, and there's snow and ice," said Russell Hodgson, the owner of Simple Treasures in Meshoppen. "A lot of people don't want to come out of their house."

That's why Mary Beck, owner of Central Station Marketplace & Antiques in Scranton, came up with this idea.

She said, "I know I get cabin fever, so that's why it's called 'Cabin Fever Frenzy.'"

Customers have the entire month of February to rack up stamps at participating businesses. Spending $10 gets you a stamp. Six stamps gets you an entry into a drawing for a $200 gift card you can use at any of the businesses.

Beck started the contest in 2019.

"It was our first year in business, and I was trying to think of a ways to get new customers and generate more sales," said Beck.

Candace Fox from National Pastry Bake Shop in Scranton says joining the effort has done just that.

"A really big response, honestly. We get a lot of people that come over to the bakery, and we stamp their cards for them," explained Fox. "And they're all excited because you're putting money in to support a small business, but the outcome could be you get a prize in the end."

It's a way for business owners to connect with each other too, from Scranton to Wysox to Tunkhannock.

"It's so nice because you're meeting people that you wouldn't have met just being from Scranton. You're meeting people from all over the place. And we all come together and help one another out whenever we need it," added Fox.

Russell Hodgson, the owner of Simple Treasures in Meshoppen, and Kathleen Beckwith, the owner of The Perfected Pineapple, say the pandemic gives them even more motivation to take part.

"Definitely, yeah. A lot of businesses are going out because of COVID," said Hodgson.

"It encourages people to come out. With COVID, people are a little more hesitant," added Beckwith.

Cabin Fever Frenzy starts Tuesday, February 1, and runs all month long.

Click here for the event's Facebook page.

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