Large, commercial stores have Black Friday. Online stores have Cyber Monday. Independent shop owners now have small business Saturday.
Four years ago, American Express started promoting Small Business Saturday to follow Black Friday as a way to promote independent businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
In eastern Wake County, the day seemed to be the most popular with shops in downtown locales, mom-and-pop shops and even franchises. Chambers of Commerce toured their towns.
The Wendell General Store on North Main Street offered a 25 percent discount for selected items over Black Friday. They saw a 70 percent increase in sales from the Friday before, and a 62 percent increase in sales from their average week day sale.
The Ladybug’s Cottage in Wendell offers specials each year, and says this year was comparable to other years.
JoeAnn Wright, co-owner of the 98-year-old Kannon’s Clothing in Wendell, said that although there wasn’t a big difference in other days, she said that people told her they were intentionally shopping locally.
Many other smaller shops didn’t offer specials, but saw an increase in walk-ins as people were out shopping anyway.
Swift’s Jewelers in Knightdale, like other stores, ran holiday specials through that same weekend.
“I don’t know if there’s a difference between the days,” Samuels said of weekend’s various consumer holidays. “The goal is to draw as many customers as they can. So many people tend to fall to big-box stores. Little businesses offer as many deals as they can.”
Most stores used Facebook and social media to let people know about their sales or about Small Business Saturday.
“I think people find the deals on Facebook and make a list based on their favorite places,” said Joyce Barrow, owner of the Ladybug’s Cottage.
Stacey Bradfield, president elect of the Wendell Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
“I think as a whole, especially through social media, we’re becoming more aware of the small local folks,” she said.
She sees Small Business Saturday becoming more of a trend in the future, as does Kim Valentine, executive director of the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce.
“I saw more about it this year than I ever have before,” Valentine said.
Although they pushed Small Business Saturday, they didn’t see many more than a dozen individuals attend. They plan to push the event more heavily next year.
The Knightdale Chamber of Commerce stopped by several small shops, leading the local shopping by example at places like Kay’s Hallmark.
They pushed shoppers to use local services and restaurants as well, especially El Señor, Latitudes restaurant and Smithfield Road Veterinary Hospital. Sherry Samuels at the Knightdale Chamber noted that many restaurants had specials going on over the weekend as well.
Don Holmes, who runs Knightdale Florist with his wife Hilda Holmes, thinks that Small Business Saturday should be during an entirely different weekend.
“There are too many things going on. People have too many incentives to go to the big stores,” he said. He thought the idea could be helpful for the economy if people weren’t so rushed on the holiday.