Sweet Reads part of national campaign celebrating 10 years of shopping local

Published 6:02 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

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Independent bookstores the driving force behind ongoing national  campaign

Sweet Reads was one of 300 independent bookstores from around the nation to take part in a national campaign to find Waldo.

For 10 years, children’s book character Waldo, in his signature red-and-white-striped  shirt and black glasses, has been visiting local communities across the country as part of an annual Find  Waldo Local campaign.

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In 2022, using Waldo as their ambassador, independent bookstores from Alaska to Florida will again host scavenger hunts while spreading the “shop local” message in their cities  and towns and Sweet Reads will be part of this.

Throughout the month of July, Lisa Deyo, owner of Sweet Reads, put up Waldo stand-ups in 25 stores downtown and families have been finding them and getting small prizes.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday Deyo will choose winners for the eight grand prizes — Waldo sets and Daisy Blue goodie basket.

Candlewick Press, the children’s book publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts, partners with the American Booksellers Association for this robust consumer promotion that seeks to  drive bookstore traffic, strengthen local business alliances, encourage summer reading, and reinforce  the importance of shopping local.

Started in 2012, Find Waldo Local has become a tradition in communities nationwide. Local customers and summer vacationers stop by participating independent bookstores throughout July to pick up a Find Waldo Local guide. Small Waldo standees are hidden in up to 25 local businesses, and seekers are encouraged to find him in all the shops participating in the program.

Booksellers attest that store traffic and book sales increase exponentially during their Waldo search  events. A bonus for retailers is the depth of collaboration with other local businesses and community alliances that continually seek ways to rejuvenate and revitalize local shopping districts. Local shopping is  even more important as retailers emerge from the pandemic, as it provides jobs for residents, brings  people together in a positive way, and reduces environmental impacts.

Candlewick has created a virtual tool kit for hosting the event. Booksellers also invent their own locally targeted ways to integrate Waldo into their community events throughout the summer.