‘Small Business Saturday’ encourages local shopping
EAGLE COUNTY — As far as Michelle Friedman in concerned, just about every day is a good day to shop locally. But one of the world’s biggest financial companies is encouraging everyone to patronize small businesses Saturday.
American Express for the past several years has sponsored Small Business Saturday, an effort to get people off the internet and out of the big-box stores and into smaller shops. The company’s effort always falls the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the day after the retail shopping orgy known as Black Friday.
While big items and low prices are the key to Black Friday’s allure, Northside Coffee & Kitchen owner Jim Pavelich said shopping smaller stores can pay dividends for shoppers.
“A lot of local businesses offer great value and we should seek those out,” Pavelich said. “There’s a lot of great items in the Vail Valley.”
Friedman, an Eagle resident, is an account manager for the Always Mountain Time radio group. She’s also been involved with local business groups for a number of years. She’s a big believer in shopping close to home.
“It’s more fun, and it contributes to the health of our communities to shop with local businesses,” Friedman said. “I believe you get better, more unique gifts, and it recycles cash back into your community.”
Friedman said she buys as many gifts as possible for her relatives in New York at local shops.
Promotions and discounts
On Small Business Saturday, a number of local shops are offering discounts. Pavelich said his restaurant is offering a three-course dinner for $29.95.
The Bookworm of Edwards isn’t running any specific specials for Small Business Saturday, but the shop is a big promoter of shopping locally.
Sarah Taylor is the program manager for the bookstore. She said “it’s exciting to spread the message” about shopping at smaller businesses. That message is spread from the checkout stands to both local residents and visitors, some of whom know about the American Express-sponsored event.
“It’s a positive thing overall,” Taylor said.
Bookstores have been particularly hit by online shopping, and local shops are finding ways to compete with the big dogs of the internet. The Bookworm can load books onto digital readers, for instance.
Keeping it local
More important, though, is keeping money in the community, Taylor said.
Online sales usually don’t collect sales taxes for local jurisdictions. In Colorado, sales tax is the lifeblood of municipal funding for services from roads to police departments to swimming pools.
“We’re putting money back into the community,” Taylor said.
Besides, she added, there’s still a kind of charm in browsing stacks of books or holding a book in your hands while reading.
“There’s a level of expertise” at local stores, too.
Taylor said she was recently shopping for running shoes. She learned more at a shop that’s also in the Riverwalk center in Edwards.
“It’s just more fun,” Friedman said. “You can go into a place and talk to the owners we all know.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.