Small Business Saturday returns this Saturday, a day giving shoppers, both local residents and possibly some from outside, an opportunity to support smaller establishments.
Erica Caldwell, shopper at Author’s Note bookstore at 519 Main St. in Medina, said Small Business Saturday is expected to be a big day for the store, in its second year on Main Street.
“Medina also has the Olde Tyme Christmas party throughout the day and the Parade of Lights in the evening, so many people come downtown,” she said while standing behind the counter.
Small Business Saturday is a national day recognizing small businesses. Established in 2010 by American Express, the day encourages consumers to “shop small” on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to support local businesses.
Much of the focus of Small Business Saturday, which is supported by the region’s chambers of commerce, is to remind local consumers that small businesses are vital to the local economy.
Small Business Saturday was the catalyst for the general “Shop Small” movement, which encourages consumers to patronize small businesses.
“I think everyone benefits from it (Small Business Saturday), between the things that the village is doing to bring people down and the fact that it’s Small Business Saturday that makes people realize how important it is it is to support local small businesses.”
The store plans to offer a make-and-take children’s craft kit for about a dollar each, Caldwell said.
“It’s going to be something they buy and take away. We don’t do that in the store. We just don’t have the space in here because it’s busy… It’s a busy day so we need the space in the store for customers,” she said.
Mary Lewis, owner of Creekside Floral & Design, 509 Main St. said Small Business Saturday makes a difference.
“We probably have easily 60 to 75 people in terms of foot traffic coming through, if not more,” she said. “I think people really want to support small (businesses). They really enjoy getting downtown and staying local. We have a few special offers in store that day. I think that’s the point. There’s usually so much going on that day.”
On the downside, the store also gets a lot of people from outside of Medina on Small Business Saturday, Lewis, who’s been on Main Street for 16 or 17 years.
“Black Friday is really nothing. I feel like those are more of a big store,” she said, referring to the popular shopping event the day after Thanksgiving.
Sandy Chappius, co-owner of Chap’s Elba Diner, 5 S. Main St. in Elba, said the last two or three years have been strange in terms of traffic at the Saturday small business diner. That was due to COVID-19, she said.
“We hope that this year, as we are almost at the end of this COVID situation, we will meet stronger,” she said. “We hope to get back to normal. We’re hoping that Saturday sales will increase because hopefully on Saturday people will want to visit small shops and eat, so hopefully they’ll come. We hope it influences us,” she said.
In Batavia, Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver’s Candies, said he is more focused on an event called Plaid Friday (this Friday) and is working with the county chamber of commerce to encourage people to shop locally.
“We make discounts for everyone who wears plaid on Friday. We have been working with the Chamber of Commerce for a while. We’re trying to extend the small business season from a Saturday,” he said. “For small businesses, we want people to shop with us for more than a day.”
Plaid Friday was conceived a few years ago in Oakland, California, to encourage holiday shoppers to slow down and shop locally at small businesses, rather than join the frenzy of the traditional Black Friday rush at large retailers. The initiative celebrates the diversity, uniqueness and creativity of independent local businesses by supporting them during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Liles said a multi-day event like Plaid Friday would culminate in Small Business Saturday and continue with Cyber Monday the following week.
“We’re trying to lure people to our website and our Amazon store,” he said.
“The chamber is more about fulfilling the meaning of shop-small, small business and hosting a small business season versus Small Business Saturday and thinking local,” he said.