Unable to match the deals offered by big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, small businesses tend to get overlooked on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year and a good predictor of sales the rest of the holiday season.
For that reason, American Express has declared today the first-ever “Small Business Saturday,” a day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to support businesses like Circa Arts and Bead Creative.
“I think it’s great,” said Novak, who opened Bead Creative with her mother, Jackie Harvey-Reum, in July 2006. adding that small businesses not only struggle to compete with big-box retailers on price but also have access to fewer advertising dollars.
“So many stores go out of business because large box stores get more supplies and cheaper supplies,” she said. “Just look at downtowns.”
That said, small businesses employ half of all private sector employees in the United States and account for about 75 percent of all new jobs, according to the Small Business Administration.
In addition, according to Civic Economics, an economic analysis and strategic planning firm with offices in Austin, Texas, and Chicago, for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 returns to the community.
But besides hitting the “like” button on Facebook to indicate her support for Small Business Saturday, Novak said she has no special plans for the day.
“It’s just another day,” she said. “We’ll just do our usual promotions.”
According to manager Rebekah Trey, Spark Fine Stationery on Michigan Street also has nothing planned, but only because of the close proximity of Small Business Saturday to First Friday, a similar event hosted by Downtown South Bend Inc.
“We’ll have hot cider and doughnuts and other promotions on First Friday,” she said, which is set to take place between 5 and 9 p.m. Friday in and around downtown.
The store is, however, promoting Small Business Saturday, Trey said.
“We put it on our Facebook wall and in our newsletter,” she said. “We’re trying to promote it the best we can, and we hope other businesses do the same.”
For her part, Reddy White also expressed support for Small Business Saturday.
But she noted the irony of American Express being involved in the event, since most small businesses cannot afford to accept the card because of the transaction fees.
“It’s odd with American Express,” she said, “because we’re the guys who can’t carry their card.”