The Christmas shopping season was in full swing downtown this weekend with Small Business Saturday.
Last year, 112 million customers reported shopping at independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — and spent more than $15 billion on that day, according to American Express, who started the promotion in 2010.
Local businesses are looking to get a piece of that pie.
Jennie Lowry, owner of Olde Mill Music, said that American Express founded the day in 2010 and continues to furnish free marketing materials to small businesses.
In Mount Airy, the Downtown Business Association, The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, Mount Airy Downtown Inc., the Visitor’s Center and Surry County Economic Development Partnership all teamed up to obtain those materials for local small businesses.
Rose Ayers, owner of “Memories on Main,” said that last year her business increased on that day, and with the store full of customers immediately after Mount Airy’s Christmas parade, things were looking good for this year.
“We have a store-wide sale,” said Ayers. “Every booth has a percentage off.”
Sue Heckman, owner of Prudence McCabe Confections on Main Street, does “everything chocolate.” Truffles, cake pops, barks, chocolate-covered fruit, she’s got it all. Heckman said she didn’t know what to expect of the day. She has been open for a year and a half, but said, “I don’t remember much about last year. I started at 5 this morning.”
Rosie Bolin was offering 25-percent off store-wide at “The Groovy Goose” on Market Street. She is co-owner with her son and husband of the vintage store, where she sells “good memories from your childhood.” Vinyl record albums, typewriters, rotary phones, along with vintage clothes, hats and jewelry make her customers smile.
Lowry, who is part of the Downtown Business Association, said, “The day is set aside to promote small businesses, and recognize the contributions they make to the economy and the community.
“On the day after Black Friday, consumers are encouraged to support small businesses and the community as a whole.”
“It has a huge impact,” said Lowry. “Customers come in specifically to show support. Some customers were in my store yesterday, and when they left, they said ‘We’ll be back tomorrow.’”
Small business owners are typically out there in the community volunteering and donating. They’re involved with local athletics and music, she noted.
Lowry also pointed out that the dollars people spend in small businesses stay in the local economy.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.