Independent retailers ready for Small Business Saturday | News

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Small will be big today with the start of the nationwide 2023 Small Business Saturday campaign.

Around since 2010, the effort encourages the public to support local independent businesses by “shopping small” from the Saturday after Thanksgiving throughout the holiday shopping season.

Started by American Express, the financial services company, it began as way for independents to counter large retail chains and online retailers.

Since 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been an official cosponsor of the event, helping make the day and campaign an important part of small business’ busiest shopping season.

The 2023 American Express Shop Small Impact Study found 78 percent of those surveyed agree that small businesses are essential to their community.

Nowadays, with more than a decade of history to Small Business Saturday, there’s a greater awareness of it now among consumers, according to Alan Flick, owner of Flick’s TV & Appliance of Meadville, marking its 45th year.

“It’s nice when you have a major business partner doing something like that,” Flick said of encouraging people to shop independent firms. “Anything like that helps raise awareness. It makes people think about it.”

Joal Wolf, president of Conneaut Cellars Winery & Distillery of Conneaut Lake, agrees.

“Overall, it sure helps,” Wolf said of Small Business Saturday. “The national advertising of it spills down to the local level. It reminds people to get it on to their calendars.”

“It’s all good — anything that promotes small business,” added Jake Roberts, owner of Roberts’ Jewelers of Meadville.

Roberts notes the dynamic of retail shopping has evolved rapidly in the last 15 or so years with the explosion of shopping via the internet.

“There are just too many avenues for people,” said Roberts, who has been an independent jeweler since 2006. “It’s challenging.”

However, he’s got a great area customer base that the store constantly works to expand its through customer service and unique items.

“It’s helping people find that hard-to-find item” for someone, he said.

Small independent businesses can be more resourceful, too, in finding products and new sources of product, according to the owners, especially in challenging times like during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That kind of resonated with some people,” Flick said. “We’re better at accommodating special needs or special circumstances that people have.”

It also means small businesses being friendly with their customers, too,

“We have people come in when they’re browsing and ask about other businesses in Conneaut Lake or a new business and where they’re located,” Wolf said. “We point them toward other places” in the area.

All three are hoping for a good holiday shopping season with their respective businesses.

Flick noted that people are spending money on appliances during November the past few years due to incentives as appliance makers offer special customer rebates and discounts only through independent retailers.

“The fourth quarter has really changed in the last few years,” Flick said. “We now call it Black November since it goes through the whole month. The discounting and rebates have shifted business for us.”

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193 thoughts on “Independent retailers ready for Small Business Saturday | News

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