This Saturday, small business owners hope shoppers will focus their shopping at home | MyWindsorNow.com

This Saturday, small business owners hope shoppers will focus their shopping at home

Sharon Dunn
sdunn@greeleytribune.com

Come Saturday, local cash registers will be ringing to the tunes of the holidays.

Small Business Saturday is the day shoppers are encouraged to shop at their hometown shops — offering a cushion between the physical crowds of Black Friday and virtual traffic of Cyber Monday.

Saturday is their day. And local retailers expect the traffic.

"It is the best day of our year," said Kimberly Bode, manager of Woody's Newsstand, 942 9th Ave., in downtown Greeley.

"In fact, last year, (sales) almost tripled. It was triple that of a normal day."

Small Business Saturday is a campaign that American Express began in 2009, started in part to boost sales at local businesses struggling in the recession, according to Fortune magazine online. Cardholders were promised cash back for sales at local businesses. But in since time, those cash bonuses have lessened, Fortune reported, and the day has become another kick-off to the Christmas buying season.

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In the 2015 Small Business Saturday, Fortune reported, 1.3 million small businesses across the nation saw roughly 95 million customers walk through their doors.

Greeley's downtown retailers have made the day an event as a Holiday Open House in the past several years, coupling it with the Greeley Lights the Night Parade and park lighting ceremony. This year, 28 businesses have signed up to participate in the day, which promises cash prizes for customers who visit 12 downtown businesses and document their trips on a bingo card.

But small businesses throughout Greeley are participating. Lolly Macrum, owner of Lolly's Hallmark Shop, 2030 35th Ave., in the Westlake Shopping Center, is ready to go.

"It's a great boost to the season, period," Macrum said of the day.

Greeley Chamber of Commerce President Sarah MacQuiddy said the main idea is to support local businesses, which in turn supports the community.

"There's been excellent exposure behind it, and my one main hope for that Saturday is that people do remember to get out to local businesses and maybe do a little less online," MacQuiddy said. "That's the Thanksgiving wish."

Greeley retailers have been participating annually in the program, which they say may now be on the verge of tradition. Suzanne Sereff of Warm Hugs Mixes and Gifts Boutique, 809 10th St., said the day has become a family event, which sets the tone for the whole Christmas buying season.

The Sereffs, who had been downtown for several years, this year moved their store to the corner of 10th Street and 8th Avenue, giving it more exposure to nearby traffic. That alone has helped sales.

But little compares to Small Business Saturday, Sereff said.

"We have nice Saturdays, but this is super Saturday for us," Sereff said.

Pam Bricker, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said money spent at small businesses stays in the community, and Small Business Saturday just puts a bow on top for the little guy.

"When you buy something from a small business, it's not money going out of state or to a large corporation," Bricker said. "It is helping mom-and-pop businesses who still believe in old-fashioned service and uniqueness. There's value to buying things locally."

Small business owners today must contend with losing shoppers not only with the lure of big box stores, but an increasing trend toward the convenience of the internet marketplace.

Small business owners warn they wouldn't be here without their communities pitching in.

"We're all in it together," said Macrum, who's kept her store open these past 38 years. "We're all little guys, and we're all trying to have the right product at the right price, and it's all about timing. So we're doing our best, and sometimes we miss the boat, and sometimes we're right on."

Holiday Open House

Shoppers throughout Greeley are invited to visit a local business to do some Christmas shopping in support of Small Business Saturday. In downtown Greeley, 28 businesses will participate in the Holiday Open House for Small Business Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., which will be followed by the Greeley Lights the Night Parade and lighting ceremony at Lincoln Park downtown.