Whether it be a gift card or a drawing for a prize, Small Business Saturday has locally owned businesses busy preparing to attract shoppers, often by going the extra mile to provide value to their customers.
Started by credit card company American Express in 2010, the day has grown into a national force, with businesses participating across the nation. A 2018 survey by American Express, called the Small Business Economic Impact Study, found that for every dollar spent at a locally owned business with fewer than 100 employees, 67 cents remains in the community.
“That’s a big day for us,” said Sandi Luck, owner of Bully Brew coffee. “We love that day because we can promote the greatness of what it is to be local and all the benefits that we give to the community, and really highlight that in a way that several of us are doing it and not just one business at a time.”
To that end, Luck said she came up with the idea of a passport -- a book that shoppers can get stamped at eight participating businesses. Completing the passport, and signing one’s name and phone number, enters the customer for a drawing to be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Bully Brew Coffee House, 2100 Columbia Road. The only catch -- the customer must be present to win, and cards must be turned in by 1 p.m. at the Columbia Road Bully Brew.
“They have to purchase something at the business, which we found that it was a benefit for the business to have a dollar bin,” said Luck, adding that the prize drawing includes something from each business, with each prize being worth about $20 to $25.
Passports can be picked up at participating businesses, Bully Brew locations, Key Bliss Boutique, olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop The Olive Barrel, pet goods store Treat Play Love, Helix Wine and Bites, Northern Roots Boutique, Half Brothers Brewing Company and downtown boutique Ann Love.
Kay Derry, owner of Northern Roots Boutique, 2550 South Columbia Road, Suite H, said she is using social media to get the word out about shopping locally and is also participating in the Shop Small Passport.
“I am doing sale offers in the store and also snacks and things like that, just as a thank you going back to the community,” said Derry, noting that her shop sees an uptick in sales on Small Business Saturday.
Scott and Rachel Franz, who own the 22 S. Third St. restaurant Ely’s Ivy, also have plans to offer added value to customers on Small Business Saturday, and beyond.
“We’re doing a little promotion right now for gift certificate sales,” said Scott Franz. “Basically if you spend $50, you get a $10 bonus card to come back … or if you do $100, you will get $20.”
Franz added that his restaurant also sees an increase in customers looking to shop locally.
“Small Business Saturday is really good for downtown and downtown businesses,” he said. “It seems like Black Friday sales, that’s on the other end of town more in the mall area, so we don’t get a lot of hit for that. It’s a nice day to have on our Saturdays, people are mindful about shopping local and supporting all of us.”
According to Luck, the benefits of shopping locally are manifest in the amount of money being reinvested in the community.
“If you think about a small business, whether it’s Northern Roots Boutique or Bully Brew, the owner usually lives in the city or in the surrounding area,” she said. “That means they are paying taxes … They are paying real estate taxes, they’re shopping locally .... Generally what happens is when you purchase from a local company, they are putting money back into it.”