By Lindsey Adkison
The Brunswick News, Ga.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Small Business Saturday” is a national marketing campaign designed by American Express. The program encourages consumers to hit up mom and pop stores throughout the country on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
The Brunswick News, Ga.
Shay Heckle has always been a huge supporter of small businesses. That’s because her family has experienced the same triumphs and struggles shared by so many other entrepreneurs.
The manager of Chadwick’s jewelry store, founded by her father, Richard Heckle, always makes a point to shop at local businesses. It’s key, she says, because the area’s economy is interconnected.
“We have to work together and not fight each other. I always shop local and I’m shopping local for Christmas. I think that it’s especially important now after the hurricane. A lot of people afterward went right back to the restaurants but I don’t think that many people have gone back to the shops as much. And we need people to remember the little shops too so we can go to the restaurants,” she said with a laugh.
Jokes aside, Heckle feels that supporting area small businesses is an obligation of the entire community. And it’s one reason she was excited to see the Small Business Saturday initiative surface a few years back. A national marketing campaign designed by American Express, the program encourages consumers to hit up mom and pop stores throughout the country on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
For her part, Heckle thinks it’s a great idea.
“I think that anytime people can relate to something nationally it’s a good thing,” she said. “I think people will be more likely to get behind it.”
In an effort to boost sales and foot traffic, many entrepreneurs are rolling out extras and incentives for the occasion. Sometimes it’s refreshments and others use sales. Heckle’s business is opting for a giveaway.
“We’re going to do a drawing we’re giving away a pair of Sea and Stone earrings,” she said.
Like Heckle, Jennifer Zamudio is also prepping for the big day. The owner of Dot and Army in downtown Brunswick is looking forward to seeing a steady stream of traffic at her shop, which offers works by area artisans as well as her own collection of napkins.
“We are going to be having wine all day and little appetizers. And we are just showcasing all the local goodness that we have. We will put out more Christmas napkins,” Zamudio said. “We are going to do markdowns on fall napkins too. But we are really focusing on Christmas.”
While she’s primarily focused on her own business, Zamudio is hoping that her neighbors. She wants them to also see benefits from the “shop small” effort.
“We’re planning to be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. So I hope people with come down and have lunch at Tipsy’s or Fox’s and then come over and then shop,” she said.
The cooperative attitude is something that she also feels will benefit all entrepreneurs regardless of their business. And Small Business Saturday provides an opportunity for all businesses to invest and share in successes.
“I think now there’s such a push for small business jumping on band wagon to support each other. And I think that since this is a national program, we should all try to get involved with that,” Zamudio said.
David Lewis agrees. The area director for the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center encourages businesses to think of ways to participate.
That’s especially important considering all of the attention given to the annual event. Social media figures paint a clear picture. Last year, more than 241,000 posts were uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all with some form of the Small Business Saturday and Shop Small hashtag.
“As far as the benefit is concerned, all small businesses benefit from shop local type campaigns. There is lots of national attention and buzz around this event,” Lewis said. “Shoppers will be looking for it and buying from locally owned, small businesses make consumers feel better — in short it should increase their sales.”