By Madison Fisler Lewis
Nov. 25, 2014. The day after Thanksgiving, retail locations will be hustling and bustling with Black Friday shoppers in what many believe is the biggest and most important shopping day of the year. But recently, movements have been made to include small businesses in on the fun the day after Black Friday, on what has been deemed Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday was first conceived in 2010 by American Express, as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was created in order to give small, local businesses a way to capitalize on the holiday traffic that larger, regional or national retailers receive during the start of the holiday shopping season.
“This is the third year that we have participated in Small Business Saturday,” said Shannon of Shannon’s Curtain, Bed and Bath. “It is a good way to support the local community. Everyone who shops needs to take a deep breath and think about the fact that if they continue to only shop at the big box stores and online, there will no longer be any small businesses for them to shop at. Of course, price is important, but there are a lot of other things that are important, like supporting neighbors and supporting places that give you good services and can give you that individualized service.”
Like Shannon, many High Country small business owners are excited about the upcoming event.
“We are always excited to see something that puts a focus on local and small business,” said Liz Riddick of the Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk. “We have been here a long time and we are a wonderful community of small businesses, but we also focus on local artists so that makes it a double whammy as far as local goes. We are supporting local artists and we think that anything that puts the focus on local is a great thing.”
Another Banner Elk business owner, Edi Crosby, echoed those sentiments.
“We love nothing more than our locals coming into our store,” said Edi Crosby, owner of WingN’It. “Knowing that we fit into our community and having them support us – as we try to support ourselves in a small town – is imperative! We feel our presence in Banner Elk is very important to this town as a gift store, but also being the only full-service wild bird store in the High Country. I know we bring people in from the surrounding cities and counties, and advertise to bring more people to Banner Elk. We love our “‘One Stoplight Town’ and hope to continue welcoming locals and travelers for years to come.”
Small Business Saturday offers local retailers and those that frequent them a chance to spread the Black Friday finances around to small, local businesses.
“We think shopping local is important every day, but especially on Small Business Saturday,” said Susan Bracewell, operations manager of DeWoolfson Linens. “Small businesses are an integral part of every community and showing support for them during this time puts money back into the local economy when people need it the most: around the holidays.”
For those in the High Country area, shopping small this year could pay off big – and not just for holiday shoppers. Shopping local keeps funds within the community and supports small business neighbors.
“I think that shopping local on Saturday is a great way to sustain the local economy,” said Toni Carlton of Carlton Galleries. “Money creates energy, and as a small local business, keeping the flow of monetary benefits local helps not only the proprietor, the artists and craftsmen and employees in this gallery but also the community at large. As a small business, we offer more personal service, along with a peaceful shopping experience.”
But it isn’t just about keeping money in the community, it is about raising awareness too.
“The Small Business Saturday campaign and other buy local movements increase consumer awareness and therefore prosperity for our local community and many others like us around the nation,” said Brandon Langdon of the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware in Boone. “I would like to thank everyone for choosing The Shoppes at Farmers as their store for brand name and unique gifts for the last nine years, on Small Business Saturday and every other day of the year.”
Small business owners in this area know the importance of their customers and appreciate every person that stops by.
“Being a small business owner, there is nothing more important than having locals and visitors support us in what we try to achieve,” said Kathy Johnson of Mountain Dog. “We want people to have a memorable shopping experience that they will remember and appreciate because our hearts are in our business. There is a sense of pride in owning a local business. Shopping local supports and grows our community which is the essence of what local is all about.”