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'It pays to shop Perham'

Back in the old days, folks came from miles around to the Perham Crazy Days promotion for crazy costumes, entertainment and activities in the downtown area.

Well, they're still coming from everywhere for the event, which is August 8-9 this summer. But longtime downtown business owner Dale Wright, and the Perham Chamber of Commerce Events Committee, are aiming to return some of the "old" hoopla back into the "new" Perham Crazy Days.

"I'd like to bring back the old time Crazy Days...We used to have the dress-up contest for store owners and employees, we had water fights, and entertainment... " said Wright, who retired late last year after selling Perham Jewelry.

One of the new promotional ideas is simple: "It pays to shop in Perham."

The crazy thing about this idea is that shoppers can receive free gifts--just for shopping Perham. The giveaways will continue for the next week--through the Crazy Days promotion.

"You never know when somebody will stop you on the street, hand you a gift, and say 'It pays to shop in Perham," said Wright.

The first two shoppers, chosen completely randomly July 24, were Diane Shingledecker, Hewitt, who received a diamond necklace while shopping at Thrifty Drug; and Kim Zetocah, Grand Forks/Ottertail, who received a pair of diamond earrings while shopping at Nadine's.

The gifts that will be presented, for example, include $50 in Perham Bucks, gift certificates from various merchants, oil changes, various discount certificates and services.

The "It pays to shop Perham" items will be given away on the street--as many as one or more per day--on a totally random basis.

There is also a promotion that will award the winner a two-minute shopping spree at Dean's Country Market.

"I'm retired, so I really don't have any reason to do this--but I really believe in Perham," said Wright, who donated the jewelry items that were the first two surprise shopping gifts. "If I have my way, the 'It pays to shop Perham' promotion will continue as a year-round thing."

At one time, there was a large group of Canadians that used to come to Perham's Crazy Days--specifically shop, said Wright. Wright said they plan on coming back this year to Perham's "new" sidewalk sales.