‘Small Business Saturday’ Catches On Locally
MILFORD — Local retailers are fully aware of American Express’ Small Business Saturday that kicked off Nov. 30 that is part of the national credit-card company’s Shop Small campaign geared to get shoppers to explore local stores and buy gifts locally. The campaign is geared to keep buyers focused during the buying frenzy that starts Thanksgiving Day.
In the past, most of the effort to get people to buy gifts in the holiday season that ends Christmas week started on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday promotion was not an American Express exclusive.
The success of Black Friday later spawned Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving as a day when on-line retailers offered special discounts. Last year, Amex launched Small Business Saturday. So, is the message of the national shop-local campaign working? In Milford Borough, Amy Eisenberg of the Craft Show, a gift shop on East Harford Street, found that last Saturday was a particularly strong day for her store.
The difficulty for retailers, such as Eisenberg, who aggressively advertises, is to attribute where shoppers come from. Do they come from store ads, some other advertising that draws people locally, or the national Amex awareness campaign? Still, Eisenberg said, “I think Small Business Saturday is working. We had the best [Saturday after Thanksgiving] results in 20 years. It’s hard to attribute where people find out about us.
“We do have a loyal following. We have 50,000 guests come to our shop a year. So, I think we help other retailers. One interesting new trend is that we find more people asking to buy American products this year than in the past. We like to make donations to local not-for-profits, charities, churches, community service groups. When we do well, it gives us more of an opportunity to give back to the community.”
Patina owner Fran Wood’s gift, furnishing, décor, and design store is on Broad Street. She too said that she has a loyal following. She said, “It was an excellent weekend. It met our highest expectations. We carry items from $4.50 [New England hand-dipped beeswax candles] to furniture worth thousands. One person from Honesdale bought a $2,000 piece of furniture on Saturday. I love it when whole families come to the store to shop. We’ve been here for 30 years. People like the personal service the smaller shops can give. We’re affordable. We do decorative gift wrapping, we add a gift card, and we ship United Parcel Service (UPS).”
Wood continues to do things the old-fashioned way, which is one on one customer interface. Others, such as Eisenberg use www.facebook.com for couponing and other promotional tools to bring people to town... for complete story, get this week's issue.