Vail Valley businesses say Small Business Saturday helps their bottom line |

Vail Valley businesses say Small Business Saturday helps their bottom line

The Bookworm in Edwards has participated in Small Business Saturday since the event's inception in 2010. Bookworm owner Nicole Magistro said the Saturday after Thanksgiving is now a better sales day than Black Friday.
Townsend Bessent |

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Go to the Small Business Saturday Website.

Or do some Christmas shopping at a small business.

EAGLE COUNTY — We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but since 2010, Small Business Saturday has also become a big day on the retail calendar.

The annual celebration of small business happens on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This year, that’s Saturday, Nov. 24.

The folks at The Bookworm in Edwards have been active participants in Small Business Saturday since its inception. The Bookworm’s owner Nicole Magistro said the event has grown every year. This year, Magistro said she expects her store’s Small Business Saturday to be bigger than Black Friday.

“We have people telling us they’re here to support Small Business Saturday,” Magistro said. “More than anything (the day) has really helped the public understand the importance of shopping locally.”

The Bookworm plans to unveil its list of the top 10 books of 2018 during the day.

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At Active Communications in Eagle, owner Anita Denboske said her company has also participated in Small Business Saturday for a number of years. There, too, Small Business Saturday is expected to be better for business than Black Friday.

Denboske said she believes a number of locals take Black Friday excursions to bigger cities and are back home Saturday. Active Communications is a local AT&T outlet, and Denboske said a number of customers discover that the local store can match many of the big company’s online deals. Besides, she added, the folks at Active can help set up a customer’s new phones.

While local customers already shop around the valley Denboske said the American Express promotion has been helpful.

Kris and August Wittenberg were there at the very start of Small Business Saturday.

The Wittenbergs own Eagle-based SayNoMore! Promotions, a firm that specializes in promotional items to businesses. The firm is still one of American Express’ five preferred vendors for promotional items.

“I do think (Small Business Saturday) has brought tremendous awareness to small business,” Kris Wittenberg said. “In a place like this valley, that resonates even louder … It reminds people in the day of online, big-box retail that when you spend a dollar in your community, it helps your community.”

Small Business Saturday is often helped out by local chambers of commerce. The Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber, did that for several years, but group CEO Chris Romer said the organization isn’t a sponsor this year.

“We talked about it as a group, and decided (Small Business Saturday) has enough awareness,” Romer said. “This has a life of its own now.”

Romer added that American Express has done well promoting the local shopping day.

“It might not be on the same page as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it’s in the same book,” Romer said.

Locally, Romer said the small business event has been helped by a good understanding of the impacts of small business on the community.

Romer said locally owned small businesses give character to a place.

“It keeps us from being a commodity,” he said. “Branded stores all have their places, and they’re great … but if (a community’s stores are) only chains, then it’s ‘Shopping Mall, USA.’ You can be in New Jersey or you can be in Vail.”

At SayNoMore!, Kris Wittenberg said August is planning to take a number of Small Business Saturday balloons around to small businesses in town. And, she said, they couple may just get some Christmas shopping in, too.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at and 970-748-2930.

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