As Christmas shoppers get ready to enter the starting gate on Black Friday, local merchants are asking that you remember them this season, too.
Started in 2010, Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) reminds shoppers to spend their dollars with independently owned shops in their communities -- and it seems to be working. According to Forbes magazine, a survey conducted on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express identified that $5.7 billion was spent by consumers aware of the initiative on Small Business Saturday in 2013 alone.
And most of those small business owners are your neighbors.
“When you’re dealing with a small business, you’re dealing with the owners, not some large corporation. The people you deal with are part of the community that you live, so the businesses are helping the community they are in,” said John Pressley, co-owner of Mansfield Fine Jewelry. “This community was built on small businesses.”
Pressley says he does 65 percent of his business during the Christmas season. And he’s not alone.
“This time of the year is when most retailers do most of their businesses,” said Scott Welmaker, the city’s director of economic planning. “In fact, some retailers do almost all of their business between the first of November and Christmas. It’s a huge time especially for small businesses to build up their inventory now so they make a lot of sales and hopefully carry them through some leaner times.”
And the money you spend stays in the community, he points out.
“It certainly helps your own city’s economy,” Welmaker said. “Because of the way sales taxes are structured in Texas, it helps fill potholes and pay police to shop locally. If you take your business out of town, it certainly helps that other town. We would prefer that you benefit our town.”
Shopping with small businesses can also benefit you, says Jennifer Evans, owner of Dazzarkle.
“Mom and Pop stores are the backbone of retail,” Evans said. “If you didn’t have small mom and pop shops, just large box stores, you wouldn’t have the custom designs, the custom gifts. You wouldn’t have the one-on-one that you get with small stores. Nine times out of 10 it’s the owner that’s there.”