SOUTH KINGSTOWN – This Saturday rather than head out to the big chain stores in the commercial malls, a national movement sparked last year by American Express is promoting shoppers to shop locally at small businesses.
All across downtown Main Street in Wakefield, local store owners are preparing for the second annual shopping holiday, Small Business Saturday held tomorrow during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First celebrated on Nov. 27 of last year, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and was created to help drive shoppers to local merchants across the United States.
“If millions of Americans shop small, it’ll be huge to help Chamber members and the business community. If people pledge to shop small and local, we can continue to support the local economy,” Joe Iacoi, Executive Director of the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce said.
On Main Street, some businesses are anticipating the holiday by having specials for customers. On Saturday, the Downtown Merchants Association will celebrate the holiday by having vendors on the street as they set up the holiday decorations.
At Jennifer’s Chocolates on Robinson Street, owner Jennifer Dowell said she has having a special on small hot beverages, $1 for coffee, $1.15 for hot chai and a special on smaller versions of the baked goods for $1.
“Hopefully people will stay in town to shop. I’m expecting Friday to be quiet. A lot of people go out of town,” Dowell said.
Janeeska, a jewelry and clothing shop on Main Street will have a 20 percent storewide sale on today and Saturday.
“We all need it. [Small Business Saturday] would help all of us if everyone would support local businesses. They love the fact that we’re here, but we need them to support us by not going to the big box stores,” Janice Lesniak, owner of Janeeska said.
At the Alternative Food Co-op, manager Rosemary Galiani said, “we love it. With our business being a grocer, we try to cultivate repeat business. We support anything to bring people down on Main Street to support our vendors.”
Galiani said the co-op will have a vendor outside to support local businesses as part of the Downtown Merchants Association.
At Spangles, a jewelry and accessory shop, employee Ros Papa said the store will have a special on scarves, two for $25 on Saturday.
“I think it’s a great idea. It helps the community with people trying to shop local,” Papa said.
Clay Johnson, owner of the Goddard School at the South County Commons and chair of the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce said it is great to focus on small business.
“Most of the jobs in the country are created by small businesses. It’ll be small businesses that get us out of this economy,” Johnson said.
All That Matters, an affiliate of the yoga studio by the same name, sells home décor, clothing, jewelry and workout items from local artists and sees the holiday as a chance to promote the artists they support.
“We always think globally, but shop locally. We’re trying to support other small businesses here,” Karla Bartley, an employee at All That Matters said.
Small Business Saturday precedes Wakefield’s own Ladies Night next Thursday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. when downtown businesses offer special sales to shoppers.