Small businesses take shopping stage Saturday

Gazette photo by Avery Cropp
Andrea Lynn, a manager at The Fun Sisters store in downtown Stillwater, clears snow off the sidewalk in front of the store this morning. While specials at big-box retailers are the focus of shoppers today, Small Business Saturday encourages residents to do holiday shopping at local retailers Saturday.

People wanting to shop small for the holiday season can add Small Business Saturday to their after-Thanksgiving shopping list.

The Saturday promotion is relatively new to the start of the holiday shopping season. American Express started the promotion in 2010 to put focus back on small community businesses.

“What’s good about it is that it puts a different focus on the weekend and highlights what people have for independent business owners in their area,” said Trade Winds Spice Co. owner Veinette Olson. “It’s different because so much of the focus is on big-box stores that people line up in front of during the evening or in the morning to get the good deals on black weekend.”

The event encourages people to support small businesses. Promotion sponsor American Express handles advertising and marketing. Some people might have seen their commercials on TV. People using their American Express card at small businesses Saturday also receive a $25 credit for shopping small.

Aimee Pelletier of Darn Knit Anyway wouldn’t say she’s participating in the event although she will be open Saturday, but she appreciates what the event tries to do.

“I think the idea of Small Business Saturday is what’s great. I don’t know of any better time than now to focus people on remembering to buy local, and the fact that American Express does it is awesome,” Pelletier said. “It’s gone everywhere this year. Lots of people have liked their page on Facebook, and the fact that so many people are thinking about buying local. It’s great.”

Joan Sleem, of Camy Couture participated in Small Business Saturday last year and had such a positive experience she’s doing it again this year.

“I hope it will be even more (positive) this year because now they’re advertising Small Business Saturday on TV and I really think that this year’s turnout will be better than last year’s.” Sleem said.

For those who haven’t participated in the Small Business Saturday event before Sleem says it starts with a conscious decision to not go to the big box stores for holiday shopping that day.

“I think they’ll find out that our pricing isn’t that much different than the big box stores and I think they’ll discover that they’ll find more unique items,” Sleem said.

In regards to the event Sleem believes it’s all about raising awareness of small business in the community.

“I’m just hoping that customers or people who haven’t done small business Saturday try it this year and keep their dollars local.”

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Holiday specials

Some downtown Stillwater businesses are opening at 9 a.m. and participating in “Sleepy Head Door Busters” on Friday. They will also offer discounts on some of their merchandise throughout the day.

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