Small-business owners await shopping frenzy

Published 7:53 am Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daily News Staff

The message isn’t new, but a new effort to increase awareness about the importance of shopping at local small businesses begins today.
The inaugural Small Business Saturday is a “day to come together to promote the small businesses we love,” reads the Small Business Saturday website — The website also seeks support for “shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home” and “businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies.”
Small-business owners and managers in Beaufort County indicated Small Business Saturday is a welcome addition to Black Friday, the traditional shopping day after Thanksgiving that unofficially kicks of the Christmas shopping season. They talked about Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Laurie Dawson, the manager on duty at Amy’s Hallmark in Washington on Friday afternoon said her only awareness of Small Business Saturday was what she had seen on television,
“Oh, yeah,” Dawson replied when asked if she believes the inaugural initiative would translate in to better sales for small businesses. “I’m hoping so. We have a lot of people who like us being here locally and shopping with us.”
Asked to assess the downtown traffic Friday, Jennifer Hodges manager of Nauti Life on Main Street in Washington, said, “It seemed pretty good. I haven’t seen too many people.”
That traffic might pick up Saturday, she agreed.
“I think it’ll be better downtown,” she said.
“I’m thrilled,” said Deborah Page Wright, owner of Blythe House on Washington’s Main Street, on Friday.
She had people lined up at the door when she opened at 11 a.m. Friday.
Wright has purchased a new building and plans to move from her current location at the intersection of Main and Market streets. In the meantime, she’s having a clearance sale.
Asked how things were going on Black Friday, she replied, “I always do well. My business is seasonal.”
She added, “You have to be realistic about the economy and make it appealing to your customers because things are tough right now with the economy.”
She added she hopes shoppers will choose to support local businesses.
“Such nice people downtown,” she said of business owners.
Just the facts
The Small Business Saturday website lists the following four facts about small businesses:
• For every $100 spent at local small businesses, $68 returns to the community.
• Small businesses employ half of all private-sector employees,
• Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• For every year in the past 10 years, 60 percent to 80 percent of new jobs were created by small businesses.