County shops ready for Small Business Saturday
EAGLE COUNTY — This Saturday, look for the blue “Shop Small” stickers that indicate a store or shop that is participating in Small Business Saturday — you might be surprised at just how many you see.
“It’s important for us to participate in this because being a resort town, we’re all small businesses. During the Black Friday weekend, we want people to know that they don’t have to go to Denver to do their shopping. They can stay right here,” said Robin Wolmik, manager of Colorado Footwear in Vail and Beaver Creek.
American Express spearheaded the shopping day in 2010 as a small-business response to mega shopping events like Cyber Monday and Black Friday. The day has traditionally fallen on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with the aim of helping small businesses get more customers. The day became official in 2011 after lawmakers in both federal and local governments voiced their support. Since then, more blue signs have been popping up each year on Small Business Saturday.
Some businesses are using the day as a way to introduce promotions and celebrate the business. Jan Rosenthal Townsend, one of the owners of Shadey Deals/Alpine Ambiance with locations in Eagle and Riverwalk, said the shops will be offering 10 percent off everything in the stores, 20 percent off custom window coverings, and serving up cookies to customers on Saturday.
“I think we get a good local response,” she said, adding that the store has participated in Small Business Saturday in past years. “It’s a way to make people aware. I’m pretty cognizant of local businesses, and I think if people are a little more tuned in to supporting their local stores, we’re more likely to stay in businesses.”
Rosenthal Townsend knows what it takes to stay in business, and local customers are a big part of it. Alpine Ambiance in Eagle will be celebrating its 15th anniversary on Thursday with a party from 5 to 9 p.m. It will be a chance to show off completely new merchandise, serve snacks and libations and offer up some special discounts, she said.
Other businesses, such as The Bookworm in the Riverwalk at Edwards, are creating all-day activities to celebrate Small Business Saturday. At the Bookworm, the day will start off with 9 a.m. with Wendi Silvano, author of “Turkey Trouble” and “Turkey Claus,” followed by an Etsy trunk show featuring Kimberly Grenier of the Etsy shop Why Spice. The day closes out with a winter cocktail hour at 4 p.m. with Vail-based 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company.
Grenier, who lives in Lakewood, started Why Spice after reading a book about the health benefits of turmeric. Thinking it would be difficult to incorporate the spice into her family’s diet, she was surprised to find out how easily turmeric fit into American dishes. She started making spice blends and now sells them at trade shows and on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/WhyspiceGiftSets).
“I now have 16 different blends. There’s one called Apres Ski, there’s a barbecue one, a seafood blend and dessert blends,” Grenier said. “I’ll be showcasing my gift sets for Christmas presents at The Bookworm. A lot of these are geared toward men because men are hard to buy for.”
A day for awareness
While shoppers can snag some good deals and promotions during Small Business Saturday, some businesses say that the awareness that comes with the day is just as important as sales.
Slifer Designs showroom manager Lisa Mikels said that often local residents forget about the store, sometimes because they perceive it as too expensive.
“I think a lot of stores in town feel that way — locals think they can’t afford it and people visiting can think the same thing. We get forgotten. People need to be aware they can actually shop up here, and they don’t have to go to Denver. We have gift sets and things that make great, affordable presents.”
The Edwards store will be using the day as a kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, showcasing their gift sets, serving cookies and punch and decorating the store for the holidays.
Wolmik at Colorado Footwear agrees that there’s a perception that anything sold in the Vail area is “too expensive.”
All of the name brand shoes in her store are price checked against the big-name stores or Zappos.com, and priced accordingly.
“I do that with everything in the store. I do the price check before the customer does,” she said, adding that the benefit of a small store like Colorado Footwear is that you’ll find shoes you won’t find in a department store. “Every year my father and I go to Europe and come back with things you won’t find anywhere else. That’s another advantage of shopping local.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.