By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
Local store owners may not have known about Small Business Saturday, spearheaded by American Express, but several are already following some of the national campaign's practices.
"I just recently heard about it," said Jim Rutland, owner of Rutland's Fashion & Western Wear in Lampasas, "Then I saw several television ads boasting Small Business Saturday, which is encouraging people to shop with small businesses.
"I think it is a great idea. The figures I have been told is that small business employees are the majority of workers. Certainly our county has a history of surviving on small businesses."
According to an American Express news release, Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 to help create a demand for products offered by small businesses. Small retailers who accept an American Express credit card saw a 28 percent increase in sales on the day when compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.
The program uses Facebook and other social media to help business owners try to attract holiday traffic to their stores. It offers free Facebook advertisements to a set number of businesses but also provides information on how to create in-store deals and how to share them with social media audiences.
Offering the holiday deals is something that Rutland's, Burlap and Biscuits in Killeen and Silver Eagle Coins and Collectables in Harker Heights already were doing.
"We have offered some sales that will go through Sunday until 4 p.m.," said Paula Raymond, owner of Burlap and Biscuits, a home decor store on at 1200 E. Stan Schlueter Loop.
The sales were not nearly as big as the ones by the major chains on Black Friday, Raymond said. "We didn't offer any special hours, but we did put a couple of things on sale that we thought people would think were good gifts. We didn't go crazy with it."
Silver Eagles Coins and Collectables owner Stan Passman said his store has sales on both its sports memorabilia and its figurines until Christmas. Offering a holiday discount is a standard for his business, which has been in the Killeen area for 33 years. It is at 302 Miller's Crossing in Harker Heights.
Rutland's also offers regular Christmas sales, and this year did its own Thanksgiving Day sale, said Rutland. Rutland's has been open for about 45 years. His business is at 511 E. Third St. in Lampasas.
"We did promote a small sale the day before Thanksgiving and today on apparel to try and take advantage of a lot of the consumers who desire go purchase items today," said Rutland.
Rutland's and Silver Eagle Coins and Collectibles, however, didn't use social media to spread the word about their sales, while Burlap and Biscuits did.
"We really heavily promoted our business on Facebook, so we try to let everyone know there are specials," said Raymond, whose store has only been open since August. Fans, followers and word of mouth have all made good improvements to traffic in the store, she said.
All the businesses have already seen increased shopper traffic during the holiday season and the owners hope it continues.
"The holiday season is a big boost to traffic in retail sales," said Rutland. "In general, people are upbeat and positive and they really seem to be looking for something to give during the holiday season.
"It is really a fun time to be in business. We have free gift wrapping, and love to wrap gifts and visit with family."
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.