The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 30, 2013

Small businesses offer perks for local shoppers today

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — In the wake of Black Friday, shopping enthusiasts have another opportunity to get their loved ones, or themselves, the perfect holiday gift this year.

The fourth annual Small Business Saturday kicks off today and a variety of local, independent businesses will join others across the nation to take part in the newly established shopping tradition.

The event, created in 2010 by American Express, is an opportunity for independent businesses to get in on the hype surrounding Black Friday, without competing against multi-chain, big-box stores like Walmart and Target.

“American Express was one of the founding partners of small business Saturday and it’s really kind of taken on a life of its own,” Buddy Gourmet owner Maggie Stafford said. “The idea is, not only is it important to shop local, but that when you’re doing so, you’re benefiting the whole community. When you shop local, it really does stay in the community.”

The slogan, “Get out and shop small,” has been coined by American Express, and as interest for today’s event continues to grow, local business owners are starting to see more and more advertisements promoting the day.

“Everything I’ve seen on Facebook and commercials on TV is “shop small,” so there’s lots of encouragement to shop small,” Deja Vu owner Lou Ray said. “I think it’s a wonderful program. There are a lot of small businesses out there and it’s nice for people to remember us.”

In order to ensure that recognition, some local businesses are taking marketing measures into their own hands.

Paul’s Discount Store typically hasn’t promoted Small Business Saturday in the past, but owner Rob Cassidy and some of his management team have decided to join in this year with the hope of boosting holiday sales.

“In the past we’ve put the bulk of our efforts into Black Friday and we’ve seen that Saturday has been gaining some momentum,” Cassidy said. “So, this year for the first time we’ve put together a coupon flyer for Small Business Saturday, to kind of piggy back the (national) marketing efforts.”

While other area businesses may not be doing much to advertise for Small Business Saturday, they are doing their part to offer savings and promotions to the loyal customers who support their small businesses.

Paul’s will offer a special promotion today with a 20 percent discount on any item in the store for customers who redeem the coupon, a special they usually reserve for Christmas.

Whether shoppers search for sales and discounts, or just take part in celebrating locally owned businesses, one thing is for sure — Small Business Saturday is a good time to be an independent business owner.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our country,” Cassidy said. “There’s been a lot of backlash with these big stores moving their Black Friday sales to Thanksgiving Day and I think that might lend to benefit small businesses, because the majority of those businesses are not open on Thanksgiving. I think people see that as these business owners are letting their employees go home and spend Thanksgiving with their families, so I think that’s more of a reason people want to come out and support them on Small Business Saturday.”