Oh, Black Friday: where big box stores provide deep discounts on the hottest gifts which often results in trampling and general craziness. You may have even heard of Cyber Monday where online stores give you discounts on the things you may have missed on Black Friday.
But have you heard of Small Business Saturday? In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses get more customers during the holiday season. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
As a shopper you are an important part of helping the local Michigan economy thrive. The Buy Nearby Campaign sponsored by the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) tells us that “About half of every dollar spent in a Michigan store goes back into the local Michigan economies. (Source: 2004 Andersonville Study of Retail Economics)
1. Shop Small
There are plenty of great ways to Shop Small in Jackson. Downtown Jackson will be celebrating Small Business Saturday.
Several local businesses will have specials, giveaways and food to show customers how special they are to downtown businesses.
A Frame Above, a Jackson framing and gift store, will even have Michigan’s Best Hinkley’s Donuts for customers. “We plan to spoil our customers that day as we always do,” says owner Wendy Clifton, who is also president of the Midtown Association of Jackson.
Toy House and Baby Too, one of the largest independent toy stores in the nation, plans to start extended hours until 9 pm beginning Small Business Saturday through Dec. 23rd. “Shopping small personalizes the gift,” says owner Phil Wrzesinski. “It shows you put some thought into it and found something unique and personal.” Toy House will also offer free gift wrapping now through Christmas, as will their neighbors across the street, Anna’s Gifts and Home Décor.
Don’t forget about the outdoors person in your life too. Knutson’s Sporting Goods is a 12,000 square foot store in Brooklyn devoted to the outdoors, including fishing, hunting, camping and lake lifestyle. “Our Christmas Sale,” says owner Tom Knutson, “starts on Dec. 5th and runs through Sunday the 21st and almost the whole store goes on sale.”
2. Eat Small
Shop small applies to Jackson restaurants too and now that you know the “Best Kept Jackson Restaurant Secrets Exposed” eating small is even easier. Eating small could apply to a retail therapy recovery lunch or a fancy holiday meal with family or ordering your holiday honey glazed ham from West Texas Barbeque, the Best Barbeque in Michigan.
Michigan Wine also makes a great gift! Try shopping (and tasting) along the Pioneer Wine Trail. Sandhill Crane Vineyards is featuring a different themed event each weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3. Support Small Local Artisans
Then of course there are the arts. So many great local artists throughout Michigan create the best one of a kind gifts you can’t find anywhere else. Or learn to create your own unique handmade gift, Beads To Live By, the downtown Jackson bead store, will offer free demonstrations of a basic wire technique used for earrings, bracelets and necklaces on Small Business Saturday. You purchase the supplies and with no additional charge for instruction you can have a beautiful handmade necklace to give to your mom or sister. Several Jackson markets and open houses showcase local artisans during the holiday season.
I’m not saying avoid the madness that is Black Friday at the big box stores. You’ll see me waiting in line with the best of them, but maybe save a little energy, set aside some of your budget and shop small on the Saturday after Thanskgiving and throughout the holiday season.