WORTHINGTON — WIth more and more local businesses able to reopen in recent days following a forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration seems appropriate.

That's why the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce's Retail Committee is coordinating a Reopening Celebration, which is scheduled for June 25-27.

"Jen (Solt, owner of Threads & Decor) and I originally came up with the idea and brought it to the Retail Committee," explained committee co-chair Laura Shefte of next week's event. "So many of us had to close, and as we've been able to safely reopen, we wanted to thank the customers who have stood by us through these chaotic times."

"We wanted to show that we could keep our community safe while serving our customers, and we wanted to give back.," added Roberta Fultz, who co-chairs the Retail Committee with Shefte. "So many have contributed to the Worthington STRONG campaign — we wanted to return the favor."

Worthington STRONG T-shirts have continued to be sold for $20 each, with approximately $7 of those funds going toward covering costs. The remaining $13 goes directly into a fund used to support our area businesses.

"More than 60 Worthington businesses are involved in the Worthington STRONG project, in which shoppers bought T-shirts to support small businesses closed in the early phase of the pandemic.," Fultz explained. "We worked with our retailers to find the best time to host a reopening celebration."

"Many area businesses are bringing out special giveaways, signups for door prizes, street snacks for customers and more," Shefte added. "Many businesses are offering sales and discounts to shoppers wearing or purchasing a Worthington STRONG T-Shirt."

Picket Fence on Main, The Daily Apple, Threads & Decor, Serenity Gifts, Classy & Sassy, Family Value and The Stag are all among the business that will be offering Worthington STRONG sales, Shefte said. More are being added to the list, and people are encouraged to check out the Shop Worthington page on Facebook to see the new businesses joining in the event.

In addition to sales, there will be other fun to be had as well.

"The Artmobile will be downtown for the Reopening Celebration and looking to get people involved with their project in creative ways," Fultz said.

The Artmobile will be at the end of 10th Street from 10 to noon Thursday (June 25), and will be giving sketchbooks and decorating the covers with kids. Staff will also be talking about and gathering ideas for the community project to be created near the Farmers Market.