‘Mom and Pop’ take cen­ter stage

Shop­pers take ad­van­tage of Small Busi­ness Satur­day for hol­i­day bar­gains

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mus­tang­Man48 on Twit­ter

Satur­day, Nov. 26 is a day to be “small-minded” when it comes to where you spend your money.

It’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day, a day that “lit­tle guys” can call their own and hope­fully rely on shop­pers who aren’t all tapped out from Black Fri­day.

Although hit­ting the mom and pop shops for your hol­i­day needs now seems like a nat­u­ral thing to do to many folks, shop­pers didn’t al­ways make a con­scious de­ci­sion to “shop small.”

Not too long ago, places like bou­tique shops, an­tique stores, neigh­bor­hood hard- ware stores, bike shops and other small busi­nesses were hurt­ing from a lack of cus­tomers dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

And so, Small Busi­ness Satur­day was born in 2010.

Iron­i­cally, the post-Thanks­giv­ing anti-mall event was started by a gi­ant cor­po­ra­tion, Amer­i­can Ex­press, as a re­sponse to Black Fri­day and, to a lesser ex­tent, Cy­ber Mon­day, which had got­ten its of­fi­cial start five years ear­lier.

Although sand­wiched be­tween two days of in­ten­sive buy­ing, Small Busi­ness Satur­day has now earned its stripes as a hol­i­day tra­di­tion for more nearly 100 mil­lion shop­pers, ac­cord­ing to last year’s es­ti­mate by spon­sor Amer­i­can Ex­press.

Ev­ery year the buzz seems to gain a lit­tle more mo­men­tum.

In 2011, the U.S. Se­nate unan­i­mously passed a res­o­lu­tion of sup­port for Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

The fol­low­ing year, gov­er­nors and may­ors in ev­ery state, along with Pres­i­dent Obama, cham­pi­oned Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

In 2013, the move­ment ex­panded to a Neigh­bor­hood Cham­pi­ons chap­ter, made up of busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions, state and lo­cal cham­bers of com­merce and other com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions who be­gan cre­at­ing events like street fairs and block par­ties around the big day to mo­bi­lize shop­pers and gen­er­ate en­thu­si­asm.

Lo­cal busi­nesses were en­cour­aged to set up popup shops or ta­bles at var­i­ous spots to sell or pro­mote their wares.

By the time last year’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day rolled around, nearly 5,000 Neigh­bor­hood Cham­pi­ons ral­lied sup­port for the cause.

Amer­i­can Ex­press took small busi­nesses un­der its wing in 2014 by help­ing them pro­mote their busi­nesses with free per­son­al­ized ads that ap­peared mil­lions of times all over the In­ter­net.

That year it was es­ti­mated that more than $14 bil­lion was spent at small in­de­pen­dent shops all over the coun­try.

Last year a record num­ber of “small-minded” shop­pers, about 95 mil­lion, hit the streets, Amer­i­can Ex­press re­ported.

For the 2016 cam­paign, a video on the Small Busi­ness Satur­day Face­book page gets to the heart of the mat­ter, tout­ing Nov. 26 as “a day to get out and show some love for the peo­ple we love and the places we love. The stuff we can’t get any­where else. Food that tastes like home. Be­cause the money we spend here can help keep our town go­ing.”

En­gag­ing posts range from sug­ges­tions for crafty projects — with ma­te­ri­als pur­chased at your lo­cal craft store — to pho­tos of con­fec­tions crafted by cus­tomers of Cal­i­for­nia-based Duff’s Cakemix, billed as the “first DIY dessert de­sign stu­dio where the cus­tomer is the artist. Your can­vases are the fa­mous, pre-baked cakes and cup­cakes cre­ated by Ace of Cakes star Duff Gold­man. Your kit comes with col­or­ful but­ter­cream, flex­i­ble fon­dant and tasty top­pings. Our stu­dio pro­vides the dec­o­rat­ing tools, em­bel­lish­ments and ex­pert guid­ance, and you of course bring the most im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent of all — cre­ativ­ity.”

The Shop Small branded mes­sage has now been adopted by all man­ner of small busi­nesses, from restau­rants to fit­ness stu­dios and sa­lons, mak­ing it an­other day for se­ri­ous shop­pers to look for­ward to.

Maria Con­tr­eras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion, an early and avid sup­porter of Small Busi­ness Satur­day, noted that “Small Busi­ness Satur­day plays a key role in driv­ing cus­tomer traf­fic and grow­ing rev­enue for our 28 mil­lion in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses dur­ing the im­por­tant hol­i­day re­tail sea­son. We’re also en­cour­ag­ing con­sumers to ‘dine small’ by grab­bing a bite at a lo­cal eatery..”

Sweet called small busi­ness own­ers and Main Street busi­ness “the “fab­ric of our lives. They have en­ergy and pas­sion for what they do, and when we sup­port small busi­nesses, jobs are cre­ated and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties pre­serve their unique cul­ture. The SBA pro­vides small busi­ness own­ers with ac­cess to coun­sel­ing ser­vices, cap­i­tal to grow or start their busi­ness, and a con­nec­tion to the fed­eral mar­ket­place and cor­po­rate sup­ply chain. More than any­thing, these en­trepreneurs also need cus­tomers. Small Busi­ness Satur­day also pro­vides us an op­por­tu­nity to honor and cel­e­brate the hard­work­ing men and women that are cre­at­ing jobs and fu­el­ing the econ­omy in their lo­cal neigh­bor­hoods.”

A map of small busi­ness mer­chants and other in­for­ma­tion is pro­vided at shops­mall.com.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Malena’s Vin­tage Bou­tique in West Ch­ester Re­minds peo­ple to “Shop Lo­cal.” Af­ter Black Fri­day, no mat­ter where you live, a na­tion­wide push by small busi­nesses has started “Shop Lo­cal Satur­day.”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Bar­bari Liberati from Ri­d­ley Park looks over items in the Seven Stones Gallery on State Street in Me­dia in sup­port of Small Busi­ness Satur­day in 2014.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Staff mem­ber Ju­lia Leis­ter ar­ranges a dis­play of Christ­mas items at De­signed Trea­sures as part of Small Busi­ness Satur­day fo­cus in Lower Prov­i­dence’s Park Ridge Shop­ping Cen­ter in 2015.

PHOTO FROM THE SMALL BUSI­NESS SATUR­DAY FACE­BOOK PAGE

Small Busi­ness Satur­day, founded in 2010, now has a strong brand­ing mes­sage.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Jan­ice Atk­i­son checks out a win­dow dis­play at the Wild Lilies Jew­elry store as she does some of her hol­i­day shop­ping in Am­bler on Small Busi­ness Satur­day in 2014.

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