Tuesday, February 26, 2019

small business saturday

small business saturday

Can Vienna's Small Businesses Survive in A Big Box/Amazon World? - Tysons Reporter

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 12:15 PM PST

Business is hurting in Vienna. The Maple Avenue Market closed last week, as did the GameStop, with an employee there citing increasing rents as the leading cause.

As store after store shuts its doors, there are questions swirling around town about whether local businesses can stay competitive with new developments surrounding Vienna — and if so, how?

At a town council meeting in January, town business liaison Friderike Butler said businesses on side streets were being hit particularly hard.

"If they're not on the main street, they're struggling a lot more," said Butler. "Even on Church Street, it's not easy. The economy is doing well overall, and if we have small businesses struggling as the economy is doing well, what is going to happen if there is a recession? It's something to really think about and make sure our business community is strengthened and supported."

Peggy James, executive director of the Vienna Business Association, told Tysons Reporter that two big challenges are facing local stores.

"It's very expensive and we're pretty tight on parking," said James.

What's driving up the rent? It's an old maxim anyone in real estate will be familiar with.

"Location, location, location," said James. "It's always been an expensive place. With Mosaic District just two miles away and Tysons building up like crazy, the competition for brick and mortar is tough."

Over the years, James said the Saturday morning shopping at mom-and-pop stores that had turned Vienna into a local destination disappeared as sales went to big box stores and Amazon.

"The challenge in this age of Amazon is double," Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, wrote in an email. "You don't even have to leave your home or apartment to purchase, and Amazon has such size and distribution that it can undercut in price on almost anything one would purchase at a small business."

But all three experts noted that there are ways to help local businesses survive.

From a policy standpoint, Butler said the Town of Vienna can help make parking more accessible.

"We need a comprehensive parking map," said Butler. "Culpepper has a beautiful parking map distributed everywhere in stores and people know where to park. For visitors who have never been in Vienna, it's very confusing where to park. A comprehensive map would be helpful."

Town Councilmember Howard Springsteen also recommended the Town Council consider hiring a full-time economic development specialist, an idea that's been tossed around the council for two years.

"There's a limit to how much we can rely on volunteers," said Springsteen. "We just really need to bite the bullet and do it."

For businesses, Shafroth said survival hinges on finding a niche that can't be as easily replicated by bigger stores or by Amazon.

"Retailers have to carve out a niche that makes them indispensable: whether shopping for a stroller, car seat, crib or mattress," said Shafroth. "For instance, new parents want to walk into a physical store and speak with a retailer who can field multiple questions and direct them to the products that best suit their needs — even if those products are available through a different vendor."

As part of that, Shafroth also said smaller stores should capitalize on the advantages physically touching merchandise offers.

"It's hard to be certain–especially if you are shopping for a small child, for instance — what will work," said Shafroth. "A parent wants to feel and touch something: is it baby soft? If it's a toy, is the mechanism simple enough and safe enough for a tot?"

He continued: "According to Forrester, 43 percent of millennials respond they would rather shop at small local stores, as opposed to big national chains. According to Cassandra, a trend forecasting, research and brand strategy firm, 78 percent of parents in the U.S. would rather shop in stores than online. And, according to the National Retail Federation, today's young parents spend as much as $1 trillion on items for kids — and this generation values good service more than convenience: they want to be certain that what they purchase will be appropriate — and safe."

And at the individual level, there's an obvious answer for how locals can help small stores survive.

"The best thing people can do is give local businesses the first shot at a sale," said James. "I had a lot of loyal customers at Artful Gift Shop. They'd come to us first. You don't have to find what you want, but give us a shot."

James also noted that it can be too easy for locals to blame new developments, like those coming in with the Maple Avenue Commercial zoning changes, for the hardships local stores are facing.

"We can't stay small and survive," said James. "We can't stay as small shops if we can't keep customers. New spaces [are being developed] on Maple Avenue. Citizens don't like it and I can understand it, but it kind of has to happen."

What Is Small Business Saturday? How AmEx's Post-Recession Initiative Found Its Place in the Thanksgiving Retail Rush - Fortune

Posted: 23 Nov 2018 12:00 AM PST

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, major U.S. retailers have succeeded in driving consumption around the holidays by offering irresistible deals and discounts. But since 2010, there's been another contender in the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush: small businesses.

In the aftermath of the recession, American Express launched Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage Americans to shop at local retailers. It didn't take long to convince the federal government of the idea's legs. One year later, the Senate passed a resolution supporting the holiday, and businesses across the country joined the movement.

Initially, the day offered incentives to American Express cardholders, giving them a $25 credit to their statement to use toward purchases at small shops. By 2013, that reward dropped to $10, and in 2015 the financial incentive was scrapped entirely. In 2016, the company offered cardholders double credit points instead.

AmEx told Fortune that there will not be a cardholder offer for Small Business Saturday this year. "The statement credit offer started off as a way to help incentivize consumers to shop at local businesses," a spokeswoman said. "These efforts helped create an annual event and occasion that has taken root in neighborhoods across the U.S."

As part of the day, American Express created the concept of Neighborhood Champions, which are "business associations, state and local chambers of commerce, small businesses, and other community organizers" who are responsible for rallying the community around the day. According to American Express data, the number of Neighborhood Champions has grown from 1,400 in 2013, to 7,200 across all 50 states in 2017.

U.S. President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, plugged Small Business Saturday in 2014 with a visit to a local bookstore in Washington, D.C. (

Pool Getty Images)

Participating businesses are eligible to receive materials and resources free of charge from American Express to help drive business on the day and year round. AmEx also lets businesses opt into being included in shopping recommendations that are emailed to American Express cardholders. That perk encourages business to accept American Express credit cards since only outlets that do so are eligible for inclusion.

And efforts appear to have paid off. American Express estimates that American consumers have spent $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants since Small Business Saturday was launched.

'Shop Small' has become a tagline of Small Business Saturdy. (Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

The initiative has gone international. The company launched a similar effort in the U.K. in 2013. Also called Small Business Saturday, American Express cardholders who spend £10 or more on their card in a single transaction at a participating store will receive a credit of £5.

This story has been updated to include a statement from AmEx.

4 Reasons To Support Small Companies On Small Business Saturday® And Beyond - Forbes

Posted: 31 Oct 2018 12:00 AM PDT

Small Business Saturday® 2018 takes place on November 24. Photo Credit: Getty Royalty Free.

Whether you're a small business owner, a consumer, or the CEO of a big corporation, you likely know that small companies are a pretty big part of the economy. This year, show your support for small enterprises by participating in Small Business Saturday® (SBS).

My accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, is an advocate of Small Business Saturday. And personally, I am a major supporter of small businesses. I know how much time, dedication, money, and hard work entrepreneurs pour into their small companies.

On Small Business Saturday and beyond, get out and connect with your local businesses. If you're a consumer, kick off your holiday shopping at your local small business. If you're a small business owner, support and partner with other companies in your area.

What Is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a national shopping day that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. What separates this shopping day apart from Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that SBS revolves around small businesses.

Still relatively new, Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express. In 2011, the U.S. Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday.

This year, Small Business Saturday 2018 takes place on November 24. Small businesses nationwide promote and participate in the day by staying open and offering incentives to customers. But, small businesses aren't the only entities that can engage in Small Business Saturday.

Consumers can participate in Small Business Saturday by shopping. In addition to customers and small businesses, larger businesses and neighborhoods can get involved.

Businesses with approximately 150 employees or more can apply to be corporate supporters. Corporate supporters promote Small Business Saturday to their employees, customers, and social media followers. For more than five years, Patriot Software has been a corporate supporter of Small Business Saturday.

Organizations, businesses, and individuals can apply to be neighborhood champions for Small Business Saturday. Neighborhood champions rally businesses and consumers to participate. Champions must encourage at least 10 local businesses in their communities to participate, organize at least one community event, and distribute Shop Small® merchandise.

As you can see, there are many ways to get involved with and support Small Business Saturday. But, why should you? What have small businesses ever done for you? Read on to learn why you should support SBS.

4 Reasons To Support Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is more than a fun day to shop solo, with family, or with friends. When you support small businesses on Small Business Saturday and beyond, you support:

1. The Economy

There are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.9% of U.S. businesses. Could you imagine if 99.9% of all businesses didn't exist? Our consumer choices would be severely limited.

Small businesses promote competition and help prevent monopolies. By encouraging competition, small companies move the economy along.

Consumer spending on Small Business Saturday put a substantial amount of money back into the economy in 2017. Nationwide, consumers spent about $12 million on Small Business Saturday alone.

If you're a consumer shopping on SBS or a small business participating in SBS, you can directly support the economy. And if you support small businesses by encouraging others to shop, you can indirectly impact the economy.

2. Your Community

Small Business Saturday is a community-centric day. It's a day where communities can rally around their local small companies and host community events.

Consumers who spend on SBS support their local communities. Plus, small businesses are crucial to communities. Small enterprises add diversity, can become tourist attractions, and put money back into their local economies.

Small businesses that participate in SBS support their communities, too. Many small companies use Small Business Saturday as a chance to donate a percentage of their revenues to their communities.

3. The Workforce

The unemployment rate is at 3.7%. And, 47.5% of U.S. employees (59.9 million) are employed at a small business. Small businesses consistently produce new jobs, fueling economic growth and contributing to a low unemployment rate. When you support small businesses, you also support the individuals working there.

Support the employees and owners behind the brands this SBS. Small Business Saturday has the potential to turn strangers into lifelong customers, encouraging the success of the enterprise, and ultimately the employment of its staff.

4. Authenticity

Small businesses are famous for offering original items, personalized service, and face-to-face conversations with the owners themselves.

I'm not saying the items or customer service provided by chains and big corporations are fake—but there's something about learning the history of an item and meeting the owner that gives small businesses that unique edge.

Small Business Saturday gives consumers the opportunity to check out new businesses, learn where the products come from, and get to know the people behind them. And, it allows small businesses to tell their authentic stories, warts and all.

Small Business Saturday isn't a novelty anymore – independent retailers depend on it - CNBC

Posted: 23 Nov 2018 12:00 AM PST

For Mackenzi Farquer, Small Business Saturday is a big deal.

The owner of Queens, New York-based Lockwood gift shop, which sells kitchenware, clothing and paper goods, says there's often barely room to stand in her locations on the retail holiday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

"It's our busiest day of the year," Farquer says. "I think people in this neighborhood especially are trained to know that this the day to come out and shop at small businesses. They are not only coming for holiday shopping, they also want to be here to support us."

And those shoppers show their support in a big way — that day alone accounts for some 8 percent of Lockwood's overall holiday sales. "It's at a fever pitch and growing every year," she says.

Small Business Saturday, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by American Express and encourages consumers to get out and shop "small" supporting local retailers and restaurants in person and online. Last year, nearly $13 billion was spent on that day alone, a slight dip from 2016.

This year, data from Amex and the National Federation of Independent Business finds some 83 percent of consumers say they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping at a small independently owned retailer or restaurant either in person, or online. Nearly 6 in 10 consumers nationwide say they are aware of the shopping holiday, and among them, 80 percent plan to shop at independent retailers that day.

Meanwhile, data from CNBC and SurveyMonkey's Small Business Saturday poll finds some 44 percent of consumers say they will patronize a small business on the day this year, up slightly from 2017, and 58 percent say they will shop in person. Overall this season, 28 percent said they will spend less while 14 percent said they will spend more.

This year, American Express has also expanded the holiday to Puerto Rico for the first time and is sponsoring events including popup shops with Etsy, campaigns to support female-owned businesses and more.

"Small Business Saturday is a great chance to drive awareness and keep small businesses top of mind," said Raina Moskowitz, Etsy's SVP of people, strategy and services. "Mass retailers play a great role in convenience and price, but when you shop from a small business, there is a story behind what you are buying. so it's more personal and thoughtful, especially for the holiday season."

Heather Parker sells dog bow ties, leashes and other gifts online and at her shop Crew LaLa in Charleston, South Carolina. It's her fifth year participating in Small Business Saturday, and each year sales have doubled, Parker said. Last year, the day accounted for 12 percent of the company's overall holiday season sales, and even brought in new, repeat customers.

"Last year 40 percent of our customers from Small Business Saturday were first-time customers," Parker said. "Of that 40 percent, 65 percent actually turned into returning customers."

The store even has to bring in extra employees for the weekend and the rest of the holiday season.

"We have to beef up for it because we get such a response from Small Business Saturday," Parker said. "Having a day that really shows support … is really inspiring. It helps us and kind of fuels us for the rest of the year."

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