RICHMOND COUNTY – Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – marked by door-busting discounts and rock-bottom prices, that has seemingly become a holiday all of its own.
Over time, it seems that a new paradigm has formed, wherein people synonymously associate the Thanksgiving holiday with a shopping extravaganza. More and more families have developed a “tradition” of spending their post-turkey family time crowded around tables of sales circulars, picking out items that they just “have to have,” and formulating a plan of attack on how they are going to go about getting all of the items on their lists.
One thing about these lists, however, is that they are almost exclusively comprised of big-box stores.
What then, does this mean for local businesses?
Unfortunately, they are often overlooked as they often do not have the means to run several weeks worth of television commercials or launch extensive promotional campaigns for a single day of outrageous sales.
That is why American Express launched their Small Business Saturday campaign.
Flashback to 2010 when the country was facing an economic downturn that forced thousands of small businesses to close their doors, leaving many without jobs. Businesses all over the country were struggling to survive, especially those which were locally owned and operated, and didn’t have the support of a multi-million-dollar corporate headquarters to help them.
American Express took notice to this and launched their first “Shop Small Saturday” campaign the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The company hoped that their campaign would bring more shopping to small businesses during the holiday season. And it worked.
Over the past seven years, the Shop Small Saturday campaign has grown into a national event, and has received support from elected officials in every state, and even from the president. As explained on their website, Shop Small Saturday continues to grow each year, and now proudly partners with over 6,700 Neighborhood Champions and nearly 100 corporations to make the campaign a success for all.
And it seems to be working. Nationally, 2016’s Shop Small Saturday generated an estimated $15.4 billion for local businesses. And some of that was created locally.
For the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, an organization whose goal is to support local business and boost local commerce, participation in such a campaign is a no-brainer.
The Chamber is proud to be a Neighborhood Champion with American Express’s Shop Small campaign. For the past several years, the Chamber has partnered with American Express to combine their marketing capabilities and influential presence to remind people to shop locally during the holiday season.
For this campaign, the Chamber does not host one large, centralized event, as they do for their other campaigns since the businesses they are aiming to help are scattered all across Richmond County. Instead, the Chamber utilizes its social media and marketing outlets as a means to help promote the sales and specials of their participating members, and to remind consumers about the great shopping options found right here in Richmond County.
Also, as a part of their partnership with American Express, the Chamber is pleased to provide Shop Small marketing materials and giveaway items, such as shopping totes, to their members for use on and before Shop Small Saturday.
This year’s Shop Small campaign is set for Saturday, November 25, with participating locations spanning across the entire county. The specifics of each business’s Shop Small festivities will be up to them, as there is no limit on their creativity and opportunities that they are able to offer to their customers.
For Merle Norman, one of this year’s Shop Small Saturday participants, great deals, discounts and door prizes are just a few of the things that customers can expect to see in their store. As explained by owner Kelly Monroe, Merle Norman will be offering a free gift with a $25 purchase, sale prices on their Winter color collection, and opportunities to earn Merle Money, their version of reward dollars. Plus, they will be offering free gift wrapping with any purchase. But, according to Monroe, customers should plan to get there early because the first 15 customers will also receive a special door prize.
For Monroe, the Chamber’s local shopping campaign is a helpful reminder to consumers during this busy shopping season.
“I think people sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle of online shopping or going out of town to shop, and forget all the great stores right here in our own community,” expressed Monroe. “The Shop Local campaign helps remind people that there are options right here at home for marking off their shopping list. “
Shop Small Saturday is just the first of the Chamber’s shop local campaigns this season. Shop Small Saturday will set the stage for a brand new local shopping campaign, festively titled “12 Days of Chamber.” This 12-day social media event, will last from November 27 through December 12.
For more information on this year’s Chamber of Commerce Shop Small Saturday campaign, visit its website at www.richmondcountychamber.com.