• July 31, 2014

Small Business Saturday gets customers to ‘shop small’

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Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2013 4:30 am

Local shop owner Jackie Duncan had a busier than normal Saturday at The OutPost Texas in Copperas Cove.

Duncan usually enjoys sitting with her patrons and chatting for a few minutes. Instead, she smiled and joked with them Saturday as she continually wrapped items customers purchased. But she still found time to offer them Christmas tea, an item she sells at her store.

“It has been busy today,” Duncan said. “I normally have a chance to sit down and talk with my customers.”

Duncan was one of many local business owners who participated in Small Business Saturday.

Spearheaded by American Express, the day is a chance for local retailers and service providers to participate in holiday sales. American Express along with several other national companies advertise the day as time for everyone to “shop small.”

According to the credit card company, more than $5.5 billion was spent at small businesses last year on Small Business Saturday.

“It is good, because of the advertising and makes people more aware that we are here,” Duncan said about the national campaign. Despite not being mentioned by name, it reminds people to check out local shops, she said.

“Any marketing helps,” said Alexis Marshall, manager of Frames and Things in Copperas Cove.

The frame and art store experienced more walk-in customers Saturday, just as The OutPost Texas did.

The two businesses had the added benefit of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce marketing for businesses that notified it of wanting to take part in the campaign. It also received rewards from American Express to distribute to patrons who visited those businesses Saturday.

“It is all about helping each other because we are all in the same boat,” Duncan said about the chamber’s advertisement and promotions.

Chris Kitto, of Belton, didn’t realize it was Small Business Saturday when she walked into The OutPost Texas, but the self-proclaimed whimsical shopper said she enjoys supporting locally owned businesses.

“Shopping small means a lot,” Kitto said. “(Duncan) needs the exposure, she needs the camaraderie, and she needs the business more than anything.”

Wendy Marsch, of Copperas Cove, who was visiting Frames and Things, said she seeks out locally owned businesses, because they tend to take better care of her patronage and remember her needs and wants.

“I think (shopping small) is something that is forgotten,” Marsch said. “We would not have the big stories without the small stores that came first.”

Another benefit of spending locally is the money stays in the community, Marshall said. Small-business owners are generally the first to support the community.

According to American Express’s website, more than 52 percent of money spent at locally owned businesses stays in the community, making the day even more important.

“It is really good to support small businesses ... because they are your neighbors,” Marshall said.

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