Every year, the Saturday following Thanksgiving is dedicated to shopping at small businesses. This designated day is intended to give those businesses the same Black Friday attention as large, nonlocal businesses.
This year’s Small Business Saturday looked a little different but still provided some stores with the largest turnout in customers during this COVID-19 era. The executive director of The District in downtown Columbia, Nickie Davis, said it seemed like the overall turnout of the day was good compared with the business these shops have been seeing in the past few months.
“The community is making an effort to shop local and support small businesses,” Davis said. “it was a good day, just not quite as good as other years.”
Sabrina Garcia-Rubio, owner of Maude Vintage Clothing & Costumes, said October and November have been slow and this Saturday was a busier one than they have had in a while.
“People were specifically saying that they came to Maude to shop because of Small Business Saturday and that they support us and want us to do well,” Garcia-Rubio said.
Maude Vintage had promotions going on Saturday to promote the store and get more people in and shopping. All of its ugly Christmas sweaters were half off, and some of its newer fall and winter clothes were on markdown.
The co-owner of Yellow Dog Bookshop, Joe Chevalier, also said this Saturday brought more customers to the store than they have seen in past Saturdays.
“Wasn’t quite the level that we usually do, but definitely was busier than a Saturday in the COVID era,” Chevalier said.
Yellow Dog Bookshop had in-person and online promotions to help get attention to the store. It featured an online component that had surprise book bags that featured five books, a tote bag and some small art prints. Its in-store promotion was for a free art print after spending $50 in books. Its online sales more than made up for what was lost in in-store sales, according to Chevalier.
Davis is hoping shoppers keep thinking about local retailers.
“Everyday is a shop small day,” Davis said. “Just because that one day is over does not mean the public should stop supporting our small businesses.”