Small Business Saturday starts shopping season for many
The weekend after Thanksgiving brings people out in droves for parades, light-up celebrations and Christmas shopping, with small businesses benefiting significantly from the holiday activity in their communities.
“People are excited to be out shopping and excited for the holiday season, so it's a great way to get people into the store and into town,” said Michelle Mathew, third generation owner of Mathew Jewelers in Zelienople.
Although Black Friday is recognized as the beginning of the holiday shopping season for major retailers, small businesses look to the Saturday after Thanksgiving — dubbed Small Business Saturday — as the kickoff to their holiday rush.
Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express as a way to support small, locally owned businesses through the holiday shopping season.
In 2011, Congress officially recognized Small Business Saturday as a way “to encourage consumers to shop locally and increase awareness of the value of locally owned small businesses.”
American Express estimates that consumers spent $5.5 billion last year during Small Business Saturday.
Small businesses, firms with fewer than 500 employees, make up more than 90 percent of Butler County's 4,051 businesses, according to 2010 census data. Of those small businesses, 3,072 of them employ less than 20 people.
Jenn Wohlgamuth, owner of Mojo Running and Multisport in Seven Fields, said Small Business Saturday is one of the biggest sales days of the year for her store.
She beefs up inventory, begins holiday gift wrapping and runs a few sales but mostly relies on a loyal customer base for support.
“We understand that we cannot go up against Dick's and Wal-Mart, so we don't try,” Wohlgamuth said.
“We just do a little bit more on Saturday, and most of our customers come by just to support us on that day.”
The nonprofit Butler Downtown, a main street revitalization organization that works in part with the Butler County Chamber of Commerce, encourages the small-business community in Butler to be open all day, to run sales and promotions and take advantage of “Shop Small” online marketing tools and storefront signs through American Express, said manager Chelynne Curci.
American Express also offers registered customers a $10 credit to their account if they spend more than $10 at a qualifying small business on Small Business Saturday.
Curci said much of the traffic in town comes from Butler's Spirit of Christmas Parade and light up activities on Saturday night.
“They try to make that entire day a really big celebration and bring people downtown all day,” she said.
Marianne Curry, owner of Over Again Consignment and Redesign in Butler, said promotions from Butler Downtown and traffic from the Saturday night holiday activities in Butler have made Small Business Saturday successful for her shop.
“People like to shop small and like their Butler businesses, especially downtown,” Curry said, adding that other downtown stores band together and promote one another's special events and sales.
“We're like a little neighborhood on Main Street,” she said. “We all support each other.”
Robin Fleming, owner of Room to Grow Toys in Zelienople, said she runs special promotions and sales the entire weekend, but most of her business comes from those passing through town in the holiday spirit.
“All those mega-stores that have those midnight or early-morning sales, and people tend to come on their way back from those,” she said.
“Lots of people are visiting families because it's a holiday weekend, and they'll come walk through town, so we get those people too.”
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Excitement building for new farm store at Clearview Mall
- Butler County communities debate charging for mutual-aid responses
- Fireworks festival hopes to draw crowd to Cooper’s Lake
- Butler Downtown group to continue
- Cranberry walkers, bikers dramatically gain more friendly trails
- Harmony, Zelienople fire departments talk merger
- Butler Treasurer Marburger seeks Republican nomination
- Butler police arrest man on charges connected to theft of copper pipe