Small shops think big on Saturday

Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter

November 29, 2013

Small Business Saturday was officially born on Nov. 27, 2010. And this year, Elkin businesses have geared up to promote the day.

The holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year American Express purchased advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders, and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving competes with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

In 2011, the U.S. Senate recognized the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday.

American Express said that since the congressional recognition, millions of shoppers have participated in the shopping spree. In 2012, consumers showed its support by spending $5.5 billion on the Saturday.

“Many times the shop owners will have a special event going on that day, or a sale on a particular item, or even offer goodies when you walk in the door,” said Laura Gaylord, community manager for Elkin. “Over the years, it has taken on a new meaning and has encouraged local shoppers to keep their spending dollars within their community.”

Gaylord said that Elkin has a majority of its business owners that are entrepreneurs who have found a town that supports them and they are thankful every time a customer walks in the door.

“Some offer customer service you would never experience at a big chain store in a large city. And when Elkin residents find a place they enjoy shopping or eating at, they are like a loyal family member,” she said. “There are numerous gift shops here, from the Hallmark store in north Elkin to Ivy Ridge Traditions on East Main Street, to the Hospital Gift Shop, as well as many other clothing and jewelry stores, too. Shop the bakeries, craft shops, the primitive and antiques shops for unique gifts that will have meaning to the receiver.”

“We appreciate business and like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. You never know with holidays though. It’s totally up to shoppers and the crowds vary,” said Richard Song of Song’s Jewelry in downtown Elkin. “We have extra diamonds in store right now, have great deals on the popular Jacqueline Kennedy Collection (an assortment of replicated pearls, rings and ear rings worn by the former First Lady). We also have the Infinity Collection on sale for shoppers.”

Local residents chimed in like Beth Hardaway of Jonesville who said that she prefers shopping locally and avoiding the masses on Black Friday.

“You won’t find me in Winston-Salem. I don’t want to be part of the cattle, but I still appreciate a good bargain,” said Hardaway, who was shopping on Main Street at a bakery for a Thanksgiving dessert.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.