For retailers in McKinney’s Historic Square, the 32nd annual “Dickens of a Christmas” festival is an early start to Small Business Saturday.
"It’s automatic traffic for us - it’s automatic sales,” said Kendi Skeen, owner of boutique Bloom. “It wouldn’t be this busy on a Friday afternoon if it weren’t for Dickens.”
Around the corner, Stephanie Farrar, who’s been in business in the square for two years as “The Canine Cookie Company”, agreed.
“It is probably the biggest festival for the year for us, so we really do depend on it,” she said.
Both businesses will be participating in Small Business Saturday, a relatively new promotion nationwide to remind shoppers to spend money locally after Black Friday, when much of the holiday budget goes to “big box” chain stores.
“It gets people out shopping locally, which is great for the economy, because we all hire local people to help us,” said Ferrar, who noted on Friday, the foot traffic in and out of her store was “probably at ten times our usual volume”.
“For us, it’s huge,” said Skeen. “The traffic counts so much more.”
The Small Business Saturday effort started in 2010 and quickly spread.
According to survey cited by American Express, which promotes the motto “Shop Small”, more than 100 million people spent money locally on Small Business Saturday last year.