Small Business Saturday Street Festival and Happy Birthday Gardner Celebration set for June 29 - Worcester Telegram

Small Business Saturday Street Festival and Happy Birthday Gardner Celebration set for June 29 - Worcester Telegram


Small Business Saturday Street Festival and Happy Birthday Gardner Celebration set for June 29 - Worcester Telegram

Posted: 20 Jun 2019 09:05 AM PDT

GARDNER — The city is getting ready for a party and everybody is invited downtown.

While there is an 80-year tradition of a Sidewalk Sale in August, conditions may not be conducive to the event this year as summer road and sidewalk work is planned.

But the Small Business Saturday Street Festival and Happy Birthday Gardner Celebration is set for June 29 and more than make up for it, incorporating the small business day and sidewalk sales. The Gardner News is the media sponsor for this event.

With areas of the downtown blocked off, "We invite people to go into the street and meet your neighbors," Alan Leblanc said, with businesses such as his John's Sport Shop welcoming people to explore the downtown.

It is the first year for the new street festival, he said.

"The last Small Business Saturday was incredibly busy," he said. So it made sense to expand that event, with many activities planned.

"The Small Business Saturday that is traditionally held in November is so important to the business community," said to Square Two Director Patti Bergstrom, owner of The Velvet Goose. "But one day devoted to supporting the locals is not enough. We are so excited about this new festival and hope that everyone will show up and be fabulous. It's going to be a very special day in our downtown."

Celebrating the small and locally owned businesses in the city, the event also serves as a birthday party for the city, which turns 234 this year.

With Main Street and Parker Street closed off to traffic from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be no impediments for pedestrians enjoying the downtown festival. The festival itself will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to downtown businesses, more than 17 other businesses and nonprofits will join the celebration with booths, according to Bergstrom.

People should attend prepared for shopping, entertainment and eating.

In addition to the Ale House anchoring the food court, Bergstrom said there are seven other food vendors that day.

And plenty of other things to do, too.

"And people can picnic on the green space where the Maki Building used to be," Bergstrom said.

"There is great entertainment and a lot of freebies," Bergstrom said, listing several, from apple crisps and ice cream treats to cake to mark the city's 234th birthday.

List of events

The activities include a Square Two itinerary Welcome Tent set up inside of HOPEful Boutique on Pleasant Street, where visitors can get a Cup of Hope coffee, sponsored by Edward Jones Financial Adviser Ryan Laliberte, current president of Gardner Square Two.

Swag bags with donations from area businesses will be given to the first 50 families. The bags contain gifts, samples, coupons and fun surprises donated by area businesses, Bergstrom said.

The Raffle to benefit Holiday Lights will also be set up there.

Square Two put forth a dizzying array of things to do.

Several of the stores plan to host sidewalk sales outside, including Lakin's, John's Sport Shop and The Velvet Goose. Square Two members including Mount Wachusett Community College, GFA Federal Credit Union and Gardner Ten Pins will set up tents for their organization in the square. In addition, several local nonprofits and home-based businesses will be attending.

There will be music in the street as JCB DJ Services will be hosting the festivities. The morning will begin with music from Just Rita, a local entertainer. Boston Piano Kid Bradley James will be downtown from noon to 1:30 p.m., sponsored by Heywood Wakefield Commons. He is best known for his performances in Faneuil Hall and in Fenway Park, but this is his third year performing on Main Street, Bergstrom said.

The Kids Zone, located in the parking lot of Bank of America, will be sponsored by Chair City Church. The huge setup will include bouncy houses, kids games, face painting and characters all manned by volunteers from the church. According to Pastor Dave Tralongo, the youth of the church can earn credits for volunteering at this event and then use those credits toward future trips and activities sponsored by the church, according to Square Two information.

New this year are "Selfie Stations" set up throughout downtown. Moon Hill Brewing will have a wooden cutout that visitors can put their heads through and snap a photo. John's Sport Shop has reached out to the Boston Red Sox and will have some players — or at least their cutouts — that customers can pose with.

The Yoga Tree has a dino in a yoga pose that visitors can do yoga with. The Velvet Goose has hired living statuary to stand with guests in their selfies. Guests can also pose with the Police Department and Wood's Ambulance.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan will participate in a meet-and-greet from 2 to 3 p.m., accompanied by state Rep. Jon Zlotnik.

There will be pottery demonstrations at Studio 4 Potters on West Lynde Street all afternoon.

Festivalgoers may want to visit Parker House of Pizza, which will serve free Happy Birthday Gardner cake starting at 3 p.m. Fidelity Bank will sponsor the Frosty Flyer, which will hand out free ice cream treats midday.

For those who want to experience more culinary options, Red Apple Farm will be selling cider doughnuts, dumplings, pies and more. My Sweet Escape will be selling cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies. And Gardner Friendly's will be serving up ice cream and drinks.

The food court will be set up on Parker Street, anchored by the beer garden at Gardner Ale House. After the success of the recent Food Truck Festival, Maribel Cruz, economic development coordinator for the city, was able to bring in several food trucks for the event including Shane's Hot Dogs, Buen Provecho and Uncle E's BBQ, according to Square Two.

Looking ahead to the fall, for those who enjoyed the June event and want to plan in advance, another festival is planned for Sept. 28.

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018 - Small Business Trends

Posted: 14 Nov 2018 12:00 AM PST

Small Business Saturday 2018 is around the corner, as communities gear up for a day of supporting small businesses across the United States.

If you're a small business, an employee at a small business, or a supporter of small businesses and want to become involved in Small Business Saturday 2018, take a look at everything you need to know about this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is always celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday 2018 is taking place on November 24.

Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which focus on larger retailers and ecommerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop at predominantly small and local retailers and to use small, local service such as restaurants and other independent local businesses.

By encouraging people to 'Shop Small', Small Business Saturday helps bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

The campaign was launched in 2010 by American Express, a time when many small businesses in the United States were struggling as a result of the recession.

The Small Business Coalition was also formed this year, made up of non-profit trade groups, public officials and municipalities, designed to actively encourage consumers to shop small.

A year later, the small business movement had gained national support, with many businesses and organizations across the country acknowledging and promoting Small Business Saturday. The same year, the Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday.

Support for the movement continues to grow and in 2013, more than 1,400 organizations and individuals had signed up as Neighborhood Champions, promoting and participating in community activities and events on Small Business Saturday.

By 2017, the number of Neighborhood Champions across the country had grown to over 7,200. The movement has been a resounding success. As American Express notes, since the initiative began, consumers in the U.S. have reported spending an estimated $85 billion at local, independent retailers and restaurants.

Consumers remain supportive of the campaign, with 90% of shoppers believing it has a positive impact on their community.



Small Business Saturday 2018 Local Events

On November 24, 2018, communities across the United States will be hosting events and activities in celebration of Small Business Saturday 2018.

One key event is taking place at the New York Chamber of Commerce. Hosted by Watkins Glen in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the event will kick-off the Small Business Saturday 2018 party, with pop-up stores, crafts for kids, a story hour, a welcome station for shoppers, and much more.

Meanwhile, over in Santa Monica, the Montana Avenue Merchants Association, Buy Local Santa Monica and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, are taking part in an event of fun and festivities to mark and celebrate Small Business Saturday 2018.

The event will see Montana Avenue lined with participating merchants offering special deals and promotions, as well surprises unveiled on the day.

On Small Business Saturday 2018, Neighborhood Champions in all 50 states will be taking to the streets, working tirelessly to unite shoppers and small businesses. These champions of small businesses will be handing out Shop Small tote bags, balloons, posters and more, to small businesses and shoppers to help raise awareness and support.

You can find out about Small Business Saturday 2018 local events taking place on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page @SmallBusinessSaturday.

Promote Your Own Business and the Small Business Movement

If you own a small business and would like to become involved in Small Business Saturday, you can download posters, email templates, social posts, and more, from the Shop Small Studio to show you are involved and promoting this small business movement.

Compliments of American Express, these downloadable materials, which include how-to videos, event planning advice and calendars, and everything you'll need to promote your business and spread the word, are all free from the Shop Small store.

Plan a Small Business Saturday 2018 Event

If you're a small business supporter keen to become involved in this national campaign, why not host your own local event? Whether it's a pop-up market, a food festival, or a kick-off breakfast, organizing a local event will help bring your community together and help connect customers with local business.

Use the American Express Event Flyer and Event Planning Checklist to help promote your Small Business Saturday event.

Or simply get out on November 24 and shop or eat out at a small local business. Invite friends and family to shop and dine with you, as when it comes to supporting small businesses – the more the merrier.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Ormond Beach boutique to close doors after 20 years - Daytona Beach News-Journal

Posted: 21 Jun 2019 07:41 AM PDT

ORMOND BEACH — My Adornments, a boutique that has been a fixture for nearly two decades at the Fountain Square shops on East Granada Boulevard, will be closing in coming weeks, owner Laurie Schammel has announced.

The shop is still doing good business, despite the pressures of increasing competition from online retailers and changing habits of younger shoppers, Schammel said.

Schammel, however, is ready to face another challenge beyond the retail realm, she said.

"I want to go out on top," said Schammel, 57, in the midst of rearranging shop displays for a going-out-of-business sale that started on Friday and will run through July or until the merchandise is gone. "I didn't want to wait until I had to do it."

Around her, the racks, shelves and display cases are populated with designer jeans, blouses, shoes, fragrances, jewelry, handbags, candles and whimsically designed potholders, socks and other accessories. During the sale, merchandise will be marked from 30 to 75 percent off regular prices and all fixtures also will be for sale in the shop at 142 E. Granada Blvd.

"We've spent three days rearranging the store," Schammel said. "We'll be out of here by the end of July — or sooner if everything's gone."

For Schammel, the decision to shut the doors was partly inspired by the work required to run a successful business tied to the trendy world of women's fashion, she said.

"It requires everything you have to be successful," she said. "You can't do it half way. It's a very demanding business, so 20 years is a long time."

Schammel opened her original boutique on Seabreeze Boulevard in 2000, an outlet for her to design, create and sell original jewelry. At the time, she had just left a newsroom job at the Palm Beach Post and returned to her roots in Volusia County.

"I had moved into middle management and I wasn't doing anything I thought was creative," said Schammel, 57. "So I started designing jewelry on the side. The next thing I knew I had a little store on Seabreeze."

Three years later, the boutique moved into its current spot on Granada Boulevard and Schammel expanded the inventory to include clothing. She estimates that the shop has employed roughly 50 people over its two decades in Ormond Beach.

Online competition is an issue that small businesses are battling across Florida and nationwide, said James Miller, communications director for the Florida Retail Federation, a Tallahassee-based organization that tracks consumer trends.

READ: Volusia, Flagler stores seek Small Business Saturday boost

"Now that means competing with everything from internet-only companies to big-box stores in terms of delivering merchandise as quickly as possible and having the merchandise available online," Miller said.

"Millennials are driving a lot of the changes in retail," Miller said. "As a small business owner, when you look down the road and see this significant change in the way a company has to operate, that can be stressful."

In her shop, Schammel has found that millennials "shop a lot differently than I'm used to," she said. "They can't afford the nicer pieces and they don't necessarily want the level of service we can provide."

Nevertheless, Schammel is optimistic that there's a future for brick-and-mortar retail shops such as My Adornments, despite the challenges.

"I do think that specialty retail like mine will continue, though it will face a lot of challenges with online shopping," she said.

Schammel, meanwhile, hasn't decided what's next for her.

"I have a couple of novels in my head," she said. "So maybe I should sit on a beach and write them."

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