Just in time for holidays, shop with wooden nickels in Warren

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A creative new way to get people shopping in Warren this holiday season and beyond was inspired by one of Warren's oldest and most beloved watering holes.

Members of Discover Warren were brainstorming ways to get people into their shops when they took a cue from Jack's Bar's long tradition of handing out wooden nickels good for one beer each.

"Why not do the same thing for Discover Warren?" asked one of the non-profit business group's organizers, Katie Dickson.

No, Christmas shoppers headed out to the shops won't be getting beer for change. But Discover Warren asked local artist Adam Tracy to design wooden coins worth $10 each, and the group had 500 of them custom made. Each is good in the organization's 30-plus participating shops, and they don't expire (for a full list of shops and restaurants that accept the coins, see www.discoverwarren.com).

Though they're good whenever, merchants hope shoppers will use them as early as this coming Friday, Dec. 7. That's the night for Discover Warren's second annual Winter Wonderland, a night of shopping in which a portion of all receipts at Discover Warren businesses is donated to charity. This year it's the Bristol Warren Education Foundation, which provides grants to the local school district.

"We're just trying to get people out, shop locally and help" the BWEF cause, said Ms. Dickson, the owner of the Wooden Midshipman on Water Street.

She also hopes residents will buy into the wooden nickel idea. They're slick and smooth, about the size of a half dollar, and come in little burlap sacks. Ms. Dickson said they're much cooler than a paper gift certificate.

Residents who want to buy them have plenty of choices. They're available at many — though so far, not all — Discover Warren businesses, including the Wooden Midshipman, and they'll be available after this weekend at the Coffee Depot. If you want to buy some and have them delivered to you or a friend, send an e-mail to info@discoverwarren.com. See the website for a full list of businesses.

One more note about Winter Wonderland next Friday: Anyone who purchases items from Discover Warren businesses will be given tickets toward a giant raffle, which will contain $600-plus in gift cards and other valuables from local businesses. Shoppers who use wooden nickels to make their purchases will be given double tickets.

Discover Warren

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