Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Nov. 25, 2011. This year's Small Business Saturday event runs on Nov. 24, 2012.
While Black Friday marks one of the biggest national shopping days across the U.S., local Summit business owners are hoping that Saturday brings out a larger crowd of local shoppers, as it marks the second annual Small Business Saturday movement sponsored by American Express.
The main goal of Small Business Saturday is to encourage community members to shop locally and support the small businesses within their own town.
“I think it’s still a little new,” said Laura Weber, owner of The Papery, who registered The Papery for last years Small Business Saturday as well. “I think this year should be good though because it’s the second year and now more and more people know about it, I think five years from now it could be really cool and drive traffic,” said Weber.
Despite the event’s newness, it has already gained national attention thanks to small business owners across America. Weber said that she was surprised to hear that her aunt, who lives in Cincinnati, was aware of the event.
Various social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, have been used to advertise the national promotion, along with a small sign that has been placed in all participants’ windows that says “Shop Small”.
Weber said that she thinks most people head to the mall and other large department stores the day after Thanksgiving, but typically Saturday is busier for downtown Summit, although there were a decent amount of shoppers in Summit for Black Friday this year. “I’m surprised to see so many people out and about in town today, but I think when the weather is nice it drives more people to come out,” said Weber.
“Historically, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the following weekend are usually pretty strong for us, said Allan Lufcig, owner and COO of Monster Sushi. “I would say that Small Business Saturday is definitely going to help.”
For those looking to participate in tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday, you must register your American Express card online and then after spending a minimum of $25 at participating stores, you will receive a $25 credit on your American Express card.
For example, purchasing a $25 gift certificate at any of the participating restaurants could give customers a free meal, after American Express credits their account.
“Anything that is going to benefit customers is something that we’re interested in. We’re always trying to find ways to make life a little easier for our customers,” said Lufcig.
The movement gives shoppers a monetary incentive and provides store owners the opportunity to increase sales. The Papery is running a few specials all weekend long including: free holiday card personalization, free stationary personalization, a free gift with purchase from Vera Bradley and customers who subscribe to their email chain will receive a 20 percent coupon for one item.
“I think the movement is a great idea,” said Keillan Lecky, a Summit resident. “I would much rather support a local store than a huge franchise and do my holiday shopping locally than spend my day in a jam-packed mall,” said Lecky, who spent her Black Friday in downtown Summit.