Consumers Encouraged to Shop Small, Local on Small Business Saturday

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There was a big focus on small business this weekend with more people expected to shop this holiday weekend than over the same weekend last year.

Small Business Saturday, which highlights online and brick-and-mortar retailers nationwide, was founded in 2010 by American Express and has been co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration since 2011. It is traditionally on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

At several shops in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District on Saturday, there were signs encouraging people to shop at small and local stores.

Lawrence Woodson, co-owner of De Novo Active, opened up shop in October 2021. The business launched in March 2020 and spent its first nine months as a mobile boutique.

“October was a little bit slower because people weren’t holiday shopping yet. People were kind of staying in but now, people are out and about wanting to shop,” Woodson said. “Yesterday was crazy. Today has been pretty crazy.”

According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, nearly 2 million more people than last year were expected to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday even as consumers have continued the trend of starting their holiday shopping earlier in the year.

Credit: National Retail Federation

This year, Bridget Cooley is shopping earlier than normal.

“I normally wait until like the week before Christmas, so I’m very good right now. I am really on top of it,” Cooley said Saturday. “I just think after 2020, people are like… people, being me… are really actually ready to embrace the holiday season, I think.”

Ken Valencia and his business partner Cody Ellison own four shops in the Bishop Arts District. They’re seeing more people back inside their stores, he said.

“Just like if you’re walking into my home, I’d introduce you and walk you around my house and show you my finds that I picked up here and there. So, it’s really like you’re visiting our home. That’s the experience,” Valencia said. “I think there’s room to do both. Shop local and a little bit of online, but we support local all the way.”

Ellison said right now, the biggest challenge before them is with the supply chain disruptions.

Small business owners like Woodson are encouraging people to shop local as much as they can, if possible.

“When you’re shopping local, not only are you supporting a local business and people who started it, but those people employ teenagers and college students within the community,” she said.

The National Retail Federation reported while Thanksgiving weekend will be busy, 61% of those surveyed had already begun their holiday shopping. That is about the same as last year’s 59% but up from 51% a decade ago in 2011. 

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