Small Businesses Win Big in 2023 Shop St. Joseph


For the first time in its 17-year history, the Shop St. Joseph program had a $2,500 prize dedicated to be given away by a small business because so often the $10,000 prize comes from a bigger business that distributes more rolls of tickets. The odds are just in their favor.

However this year, luck was on on the side of small business, with the $10,000 grand prize number coming from the retail side of a non-profit organization.

The grand prize ticket number, 0608606, was from Sister of Solace, a community of hospitality and healing for survivors of trauma and addiction who have no place to call home. The organization has a retail shop called Solace Market that is full of products sourced by women-owned businesses, including candles and body products that are made by ladies in the program.

Jennie McDonald, a lifelong St. Joseph resident, stopped by Solace Market to finish off some Christmas shopping about two weeks ago. She said she has a family member who has a small business and many friends who have small businesses so this year she made a point to visit as many local shops as possible while doing her Christmas buying.

“I want to see small business owners make it,” she said. “I want to do my part.”

She said she used the list of those participating in Shop St. Joseph to help decide where to shop, including Juniper Lane, the new Story Collective and Sisters of Solace.

“I think their program is worthwhile and I really wanted to support them,” she said.

When it comes to what she plans to do with her winnings, she said a donation to Sisters of Solace is definitely planned, but contributions to other charities are on the list as well.

“A lot of good can be done with this money,” she said. “There are still families that need to be adopted. There is a lot of need in St. Joe. I will put this to good use.”

She said when her family was younger there were some straining financial times, but things always seemed to work out, “so when I have a chance to do good for others, I like to see that happen.”

The Shop Small Business Bonus ticket number, 1722584, was given away at BJ’s Auto Collision & Restoration, Inc., to Angie Luthans of St. Joseph, who said she has shopped at many small businesses this holiday season.

“I’m so glad they added a small business prize this year,” she said. She was especially glad to receive the check at BJ’s and bring some attention to his business.

“BJ’s Auto has done so much for my family over the years,” she said. “BJ is one of the most genuine, honest, reliable mechanics I have ever met. I am so thankful for his service.”

Besides keeping shopping dollars in St. Joseph, one of the other goals of the program is to introduce businesses to new customers through marketing and publicity (like the check presentation ceremony).

“I think Shop St. Joseph was a huge success this year,” said Natalie Hawn, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “Not only did more businesses participate than ever, but by the luck of the draw we were able to bring attention to an outstanding not-for-profit and a long-standing family-owned small business. Today is a good Chamber of Commerce day.

The checks were presented at Sisters of Solace and BJ’s Auto Collision & Restoration, Inc. with representatives from the businesses, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and presenting sponsor First Option Bank.