Small-business initiative launches Saturday
Kelly Thurman / Argus Leader
First came Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and now sandwiched right between them is a new movement called Small Business Saturday.
The first Small Business Saturday will take place this weekend with the intention of supporting small businesses and getting shoppers to spend a little money at local retailers during the big holiday shopping weekend.
The initiative is spearheaded by American Express Open, its small business unit. Registered American Express card members will receive a $25 statement credit when they shop at small businesses on Saturday.
But the movement also is prompting many small-business owners, including some in Sioux Falls, to offer promotions on Saturday as a little extra incentive.
“I was glad to see that with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all that, that they were promoting the small businesses and shopping local,” said Kris Stanton, co-owner of the Go Casual clothing store on Phillips Avenue.
The initiative prompted the store to extend its Black Friday promotion of 20 percent off regular-priced merchandise into Saturday, she said.
Stanton hopes the day will become an annual event but isn’t sure what to expect this year. Though she takes American Express, not all small-business owners do, she said.
At Oh My Cupcakes on Main Avenue, owner Melissa Johnson has been trying to bring attention to the initiative on Facebook and Twitter.
She’s teaming up with Cleaver’s Market, where they sell her cupcakes daily, and will be handing out mini-cupcakes to customers Saturday at the market on Western Avenue.
“I think you hear so much about the sales happening on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I think turning our thoughts more local and supporting our friends and neighbors who own small businesses is really key to growing our community,” she said.
But while small-business owners are excited about the day’s potential, at least one retail expert said this might not be the year for it to take off.
Retail consultant Jeff Green said that it probably will take awhile for the movement to catch on, particularly with the down economy.
“I think it’s a great idea to get more people shopping local, but in this economy everything is about price,” Green said, adding that many small businesses can’t match the big national retailers on discounts.
He expects the movement to gain momentum as the economy improves. While the movement is creating a lot of talk, it’s hard to tell how many people actually will head out to the local shops this year.
Nearly a million people have “liked” the page on Facebook, and AllFacebook.com said the page is the fastest growing new page on the social media site.
“That’s pretty good. But again it’s intent. I don’t know if intent and actual shopping behavior are going to be one in the same this year,” he said.