ANDERSONVILLE — Andersonville's small business community wants to show residents and visitors some love next week in honor of Valentine's Day — and hopes the feeling is mutual.
Andersonville Loves Local is coming to the neighborhood Feb. 8 and 9. It's a weekend of dining, shopping and "spreading the local love," according to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce website.
The chamber said the event will allow customers to shop for Valentine's Day while enjoying discounts, specials, live entertainment and drinks at the independent small businesses that give the neighborhood much of its charm.
The idea for the event was hatched by Hallie Borden, a 26-year-old Andersonville resident who owns Milk Handmade, 5137 N. Clark St.. The popular Andersonville boutique sells women's clothes and accessories.
Borden said Andersonville Loves Local started as an idea she had for her own shop, but that she was intrigued by the potential broader benefits of making it a neighborhood-wide affair — especially considering extreme January weather that has discouraged shoppers from visiting local stores, and recent store closings in the area that she fears has hurt some shopkeepers' morale.
She brought the idea to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the chamber helped her actualize her vision.
"It started as a way to drum up some more business in the local community," she said. "It's to support small businesses and to get everybody out helping their local communities and economies."
Milk Handmade is hosting a cocktail dress trunk show with local designer Sophia Reyes for the event. Local jeweler Michelle Starbuck will also be at the store crafting custom jewelry for patrons. Koval Distillery will be pouring special Valentine's-themed cocktails at Milk Handmade, where all merchandise will also be marked down 14 percent in honor of Valentine's Day.
A lot of other shops are offering deals and discounts, too.
To name a few — Broken Buckle Antiques is offering 40 percent off one regular-priced item; Trillium at the Landmark of Andersonville is offering 50 percent off one regular-priced item; and sex toy shop Early to Bed is giving customers 10 percent off store-wide, and a free gift with a $25 purchase.
Stop into Found Vintage Living for a shot at winning a romantic gift package including champagne, vintage champagne coupes and candles.
First Slice Pie Cafe will feature live music, give paying customers free Mexican hot chocolate and deals on entrees and pies; Tojours Spa and Salon has various valentine's special promotions and discounts; And a licensed massage therapist will be on hand at Ranalli's from noon to 5 p.m. during the weekend celebration to give customers who dine-in or pick up orders from the pizzeria a free 10-minute chair massage.
Many Andersonville businesses will serve free drinks and snacks during Andersonville Loves local.
Borden said she hopes her idea blossoms into an annual staple in Andersonville.
"I'd love to make it a yearly thing," she said.