Local businesses offering discounts, freebies during Small Business Saturday events

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — What started as an effort by American Express to encourage people to begin shopping at small businesses around the holidays quickly became nationally recognized as “Small Business Saturday,” a day for local businesses to offer discounts and promotions the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This year, around 20 small businesses are offering sales and events to customers in St. George.

American Express first launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, during a time when small businesses were still reeling from the Great Recession, to encourage holiday shoppers to spend their money in local economies, according to American Express Shop Small.

By 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the cause and officials in every state participated.

On Nov. 16, the Senate passed two resolutions to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the Women’s Business Act of 1988 and to recognize Nov. 24, 2018 as Small Business Saturday.

The bipartisan Small Business Saturday resolution was made to join the Small Business Administration to recognize the contributions that small businesses make to the national economy, celebrate small-business owners, acknowledge the importance of creating business-friendly policies for small-business owners and supporting young entrepreneurs.

Small businesses provide almost two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. and employ nearly 48 percent of private sector employees, according to a press release from Sen. Orrin Hatch. There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., representing 99.9 percent of all businesses in the country and making up 97.6 percent of firms that export goods.

Since the start of Small Business Saturday customers have spent an estimated $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants, according to an American Express survey.

This year, the Business Resource Center at Dixie State University has organized around 20 local businesses in St. George to participate in Small Business Saturday with sales, events and giveaways, according to a press release.

Many of the participating business are are located in the the shops at Green Gate Village in downtown St. George, where shoppers will receive free hot chocolate and a free tote bag with every purchase. A list of all participating businesses in St. George can be found online.

“A small business has a lot of products that Amazon doesn’t, they have a lot of products that other companies don’t, they have something unique,” said Peter Fuller, marketing and events coordinator for the Business Resource Center. “And even if it’s not at the steepest discount, that’s kind of their bread and butter is something unique, something fun something from the heart.”

Besides traditional shopping, The Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City is offering a Small Business Saturday sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as it debuts this year’s seasonal merchandise including ornaments, holiday cards and handmade candles.

Shoppers will receive a mystery discount of 10-25 percent off their total purchase and kids have the opportunity to participate in a make-and-take activity from 2-4 p.m. Donations will also be accepted to benefit Iron County Care and Share.

Shoppers aren’t the only ones who have to prepare for holiday shopping. TDS Telecom offers seven tips for businesses who wish to participate in Small Business Saturday:

  • Promote sales. American Express offers free downloadable Small Business Saturday marketing materials including customizable social media posts, email templates, Small Business Saturday logos and posters.
  • Communicate with existing customers. Give out flyers or exclusive coupons to returning customers to encourage them to come back on Small Business Saturday and to thank them for their continued support.
  • Team up with nearby small businesses. Teaming up with other local businesses to help promote one another’s stores and offers can help bring in potential customers while also helping other small businesses.
  • Support local charities. Partnering with a local nonprofit to donate a portion of the day’s sales may encourage customers to spend more knowing that their money will support a good cause.
  • Offer great customer service. Make sure that employees are trained and prepared to provide excellent customer service. Consider offering additional services to customers such as free gift-wrapping and carrying purchases to a customer’s vehicle.
  • Host a kick-off event. Partnering with nearby business owners to host a kick-off event for shopping, inviting local officials or celebrities to attend or handing out free food or items, can be a good way to encourage customers to shop locally.
  • Upgrade your curb appeal. Playing music or creating a space for shoppers to take a break can help bring customers into a store. Offering kid-friendly activities to keep children occupied while parents shop can be another strategy.

Shopping at small businesses not only boosts the local economy and provides an opportunity to give gifts that are not readily found at larger retailers, but it also helps to support local business owners and their families, Fuller said.

“We forget that we want to get our family members something unique, something cool, and at the same time how awesome it is to support small business. Support someone whose livelihood this is. Support them so that they can buy holiday presents for their family,” Fuller said. “That’s the spirit that we want to get people into. Support others with your holiday shopping.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • mmsandie November 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Where is the list of small businesses? There is no parking downtown, I,m handicapped with a cane so green gate village Is imposssible.

    • Peter November 23, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Hey there! The list of small businesses participating is at SouthernUtahBusiness.org/small-business-Saturday/

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