“Shop Local” is the mantra for Small Business Saturday, today’s cross-country promotion that presses holiday shoppers to spend money in mom-and-pop shops.
The shopping holiday shifts focus away from the big box retailers that benefit most on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 and in the nine years since, estimated spending at retailers and restaurants topped $100 billion, according to the latest annual survey by from AmEx and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Jean Knouse owns the children’s clothing store The Kiddie Korner Boutique, 611 Mill St., Danville. Today will be the third consecutive year the shop participates in Small Business Saturday, Knouse said.
“It’s been a great start to the holiday season,” Knouse said. “It almost functions like a preview for people to just stop into little stores like ours.”
“I think of the store as a place where you’re hoping to buy your children’s clothes. We work real hard to make sure we have soft, comfortable baby clothes that are beautiful. And, we want toddlers to feel and look like toddlers, not little adults,” Knouse said.
The Lewisburg Downtown Partnership once again is promoting its Downtown Shopping Pass, available at participating locations and good through the end of business today. It offers 15-percent discounts at 44 different businesses including eateries — 40 on Market Street and another four just off the main drag.
“Our shopping pass is a tried and true promotion that has been going on for years,” Ellen Ruby, executive director, Lewisburg Downtown Partnership, said. “Really, everyone benefits from the Small Business Saturday promotion. Anything that gives us the chance to bring people downtown to enjoy the atmosphere, community and offerings at the stores and restaurants in Lewisburg is a benefit to all of us.”
The Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau promotes a shopping pass of its own, good through Dec. 31 at more than 60 retailers throughout the region. Each merchant promotes a store-specific discount or gift. This pass is available to be downloaded or printed at www.visitcentralpa.org.
Queen Street Shops, 95 Queen St., Northumberland, participates in the Visitors Bureau shopping pass. The new consignment store, which opened in July, offers $5 gift cards for every $50 gift card purchase.
Tracy Miloro, who operates Queen Street Shops with her husband, Charlie, said they’ll offer door prizes and treats for customers like cookies and fudge.
“Fun stuff to try and bring business into the town,” Tracy Miloro said.
Janet Dieffenbach operates Oma’s Antique Emporium at 315 Chestnut St., Mifflinburg. It opened in March, making Small Business Saturday a first for her as a business owner.
This year, Dieffenbach said since the store’s wares have a German focus, she decided to have holiday promotions coinciding with Sunday’s community tree lighting event as well as the town’s 31st annual Christkindl Market coming Dec. 12-14.
On Sunday, Oma’s will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers 15 percent discounts on all furniture.
Next year, Dieffenbach said she may shift some extra focus to Small Business Saturday.
“This is our first year,” Dieffenbach said. “It’s all kind of been a learning curve.”