JP Shopping Spree returns

June 24, 2011
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The JP Shopping Spree, a local shopping fest that debuted in April, was so successful that it is returning as a five-day event July 6-10.

“So many folks, business owners and participants alike, asked for it to be longer,” said Betsy Cowan, executive director of Egleston Square Main Streets, one of the fest’s organizers.

The Shopping Spree features more than 20 markets, grocers and bodegas in central JP and Egleston, Hyde and Jackson Squares. Each location will have samples, cooking demos or special sales. Attendees who get a “passport” stamped from at least six of the businesses will be entered into a raffle for local products.

The April fest was a response to controversy over the move into Hyde Square by the international chain grocer Whole Foods Market, which has indicated a willingness to work with local businesses and purchase locally grown produce. The fest was a success, as was a similar Hyde Square restaurant tasting tour held last weekend.

The desire for a longer Shopping Spree has led to talk of a permanent buy-local movement, Cowan said.

“We’ve thrown around ideas of a reward program…and might do something like that in the future,” she said. “Our goal now is to continue to build momentum…to support local businesses. With more momentum, we’ll be able to do more to support them.”

The Shopping Spree officially kicks off July 7 as part of the First Thursdays art event in central JP. Participants can take the MBTA’s Route 48 JP Loop bus to all three business districts.

The event is organized by JP’s three Main Street organizations, merchants and residents, with support from the City of Boston. For more information, see www.buylocaljp.com or “JP Shopping Spree” on Facebook.

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