Local shops 'popping' on Small Business Saturday

By Kate Snyder / The Blade /
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 20:11:33 GMT

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For local businesses, the Saturday after Black Friday, known traditionally as “Small Business Saturday,” is just as busy or even busier than the day before.

“We’re popping,” Megan Aherne, manager at Handmade Toledo, said Saturday afternoon. “Today is great.”

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 and was designed to be a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to bring shoppers into small, local stores and encourage consumers to remember the businesses in their own communities while shopping during the holiday season.

This year, consumers nationwide spent $11.6 billion over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, Small Business Saturday had pulled in $470 million. With a shortened time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas — just over three weeks — many retailers nationally are increasing both advertising and discounts.

Ms. Aherne said staff at Handmade Toledo prepared for the day by getting all of its stock out onto the floor and showcasing the shop’s discounts and deals. Customers were also given gift cards and “swag bags” when they made a purchase.

On Saturday, Ms. Aherne said the store saw a steady stream of customers all morning.

“When you’re buying things on Black Friday, you’re supporting big box retailers,” she said.

There’s nothing wrong with buying from the large companies, but it’s nice, she said, to have a holiday geared toward encouraging people to buy local. People who buy from local businesses support local residents who then go on to spend that money in the city, keeping the local economy going.

“You’re just kind of keeping your money here,” she said.

Sandy Blackstone Carman, owner of Devoon, a local shop specializing in gifts — including jewelry, clothing, serving pieces, etc. — said both Friday and Saturday were busy.

“We had a great day [Friday],” she said. “We sold out of a number of things and had to call and give emergency orders.”

She believes that when people buy online rather than in person, they miss an essential part of the shopping experience.

“When you support a local business, a huge percentage goes right back into the economy,” she said.

And the shopping sprees are far from over. Consumers nationwide are predicted to spend $29 billion online between Thursday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics, which anticipates shoppers will spend $9.4 billion in online sales.

Information from The Blade’s news services was used in this report.