WUFT News

Small Business Saturday Encourages Holiday Sales In Local Stores

By on November 18th, 2013

In the shopping frenzy brought on by the doorbusters and deals of Black Friday, small business often struggle to compete.

North Florida businesses are encouraging shoppers to complete their gift lists locally with Small Business Saturday, a campaign by American Express that offers benefits to customers who participate.

Pam Whittle, president and CEO of the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce said Small Business Saturday was a success last year after a strong promotion effort made by the chamber.

Along with displaying advertising materials sent in packets from American Express, the chamber included its own twist on the day: allowing home businesses space in storefront properties. This year, some beauty shops have offered to lend space to home business on Small Business Saturday rent-free.

The North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce offers services to small cities with many small businesses, including Starke, Keystone, Lake Butler and Melrose.

In 2008, the Small Business Administration reported more than 2 million small businesses in Florida, composing 44 percent of the state’s private-sector employment.

Despite their large impact on the economy, small businesses have been suffering nationally. According to a report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses are losing optimism regarding real sales gains.

“It’s difficult,” Whittle said. “Our immediate thought is, ‘I can’t find that there, I need to go to the mall or a larger area,’ but actually you can find it.”

The campaign allows small businesses to sign up through its website to be listed as a participating store from Nov. 21 to Dec. 1.

American Express cardholders also benefit from the campaign. Customers who swipe their cards at participating stores and spend more than $10 will earn a $10 statement credit.

Ilene Silverman’s store in Gainesville, Ilene’s For Fashion, participated in Small Business Saturday last November. After learning about the campaign through the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Silverman signed up, hoping to increase exposure. She had customers come in with their cards, ready to shop and earn benefits.

Silverman said that because small businesses can’t compete with big doorbusters, she tries to encourage holiday shopping in other ways, like offering complementary gift wrap and personal service to those shopping for gifts.

“This gives us another way to compete on Saturday and boost our visibility and shopping potential,” she said.

Silverman said she appreciates efforts made to help small businesses reel in customers after generally low sales on Black Friday.

Another small business owner in Gainesville, Cathleene Blagay of Thornebrook Chocolates, also found success through Small Business Saturday.

Black Friday is usually not a busy day for Thornebrook, Blagay said, but she is glad to see the support of the community in promoting small businesses during this time.

“We have seen an up kick in business — it hasn’t been enormous — but the attention to small businesses is what’s most important,” Blagay said.


This entry was posted in Business and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Business

One of the two Thrift 5 stores owned by Pledge 5 in Gainesville. Pledge 5 budgeted the 2014 Gator Stompin' event off projected attendance increases and revenue from the thrift stores, but was unable to meet the expected numbers.

Gator Stompin’ Looking To Get Back On Track With Payback Program

The Pledge 5 Foundation is in debt with local businesses in Gainesville. The organization owes more than $100,000, but it created a program, so that they can pay back the money they owe.


Inmate labor saved taxpayers more than $9 million in 2013. The stoves project was just a small piece of a large statewide operation.

Prisoner Labor Saves Taxpayer Money

In exchange for a reduced sentence, some Marion County inmates participate in a prison work program. The program has produced much of the jail’s infrastructure, saving taxpayers more than $9 million in 2013.


Alex Skobel and his girlfriend Loree Schulson share a moment in one of the Skobel Homes properties. Schulson joked she was trying to steal Skobel's warmth while touring the home on a cold Sunday.

UF Graduate Builds Future Out Of Recession

The economic recession in 2007 led to the unemployment of millions of Americans. However, one University of Florida graduate turned the downturn into opportunity.


Hitchcock's Markets is currently the only grocery store in Alachua.

Alachua Residents Ready For New Grocery

Publix is moving to the small city of Alachua and will compete with the only other grocery store there called Hitchcock’s Markets. Residents are excited to see more diversity in their grocery shopping.


Cory Wise (left) and Courtney Buckley (right) work together to clean a residence. Wise and Buckley work for Student Maid, owned by Kristen Hadeed.

National Organizations Encourage Female Business Owners

What started out as a cleaning job to pay for a pair of jeans turned into a booming Gainesville business. Since then, business owner Kristen Hadeed’s cleaning company, Student Maid, has been successful and is growing daily.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments