Small businesses, big success
La Center - Coming out of the Thursday evening jaunt to the big named stores to grab up pre-black Friday deals and on into the late hours of Friday night to find even more holiday bargains, several Ballard County residents decided to slow it down and shop locally on Saturday.
Small Business Saturday has certainly taken off since its beginnings four years ago. The event has been endorsed by the U.S. Small Business Association, recognized by Congress, and supported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as well as American Express.
American Express, who initially started the event as a marketing strategy as well as an incentive to boost sales for local businesses, offered a $10 statement credit for a purchase of at least $10 from a participating small business on the day of the event.
The words “shop local” have become a sort of mantra for small business owners and shoppers alike, and this seems to be especially true in Ballard County. Residents in the county have latched on to the idea of keeping money right here in the area.
This seems to be the case across the U.S. According to a recent survey by American Express and NFIB, about 70% of small business owners say Small Business Saturday helps to bring customers into their stores. The event is meant to serve as a reminder for shoppers to support local businesses not just on the event day, but all year long.
An American Express and NFIB survey conducted shortly after last year’s event showed consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion at locally-owned stores and restaurants on the 2012 Small Business Saturday event.
Ballard County shoppers made their way to local businesses including to the Chamber of Commerce building where several home-based vendors assembled to sell their various wares. This is a unique twist on the Small Business Saturday event in that it brought together local people who do not have brick and mortar stores; instead, they work from home usually gaining a customer base through word of mouth.
Elaine Jarvis, herself a home-based vendor selling Vault Denim, organized the event so it would fall on the day of the national event. Jarvis had previously organized another gathering of home-based vendors at the Chamber Building back on November 9th. Pleased with the turnout that day, Jarvis thought Small Business Saturday would be a great opportunity to hold another event.
“It was a lot better than I thought,” said Jarvis. She says she is organizing another home-based vendor event for March 29th.
“Small businesses are a powerful force out there,” said Jarvis. “Small business is alive and well.”