Small Business Saturday has plenty of benefits

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is gaining momentum among holiday shoppers.

The effort encourages shoppers to patronize smaller, locally owned stores rather than box stores and shopping malls. It has been promoted by American Express since 2010.

Old Town Cape and the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce distributed "Welcome to Small Business Saturday" door mats were distributed to about 20 businesses this week.

"There are a lot of businesses promoting it in a lot of different ways," said Marla Mills, executive director of the downtown revitalization organization.

Small-business owners maintain their firms are creating jobs and helping propel the economy.

"I had to hire a part-time person to keep up with holiday demand," said Claire Bruce, owner of jewelry store Sloan + Themis on Main Street. "So when you shop at a small business, you are contributing to the economic growth and a stronger, healthier community."

Locally owned small businesses are responsible for nearly all new net jobs in the Mississippi River Delta region, according to a study revealed earlier this week by the Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership working to stimulate economic development.

Since 1992, locally owned businesses with nine or fewer employees created 91 percent of the new net jobs in the eight-state region that includes Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Stacy Busch-Heisserer, owner of Busch Pet Products on Kingsway Drive in Cape Girardeau, said shopping local can help save local resources and jobs.

"With such a bad economy, I value the fact that I have so many great customers that are willing to shop local," she said. "I know you can't shop local for everything you need to buy, but just by doing some, at local businesses, a person can feel good about putting money back into the community."

Individuals who use their American Express cards at Bush Pet Products, or other qualifying locations, will receive a $25 credit on their bill, Busch-Heisserer said. A map of qualifying business locations can be found at americanexpress.com/Shop-Small.

Small-business owners believe there are advantages for shoppers as well.

"Small-business owners and employees love what we do," Bruce said. "It makes us happy to see our customers happy and we will do what it takes to make that happen. If you are a regular or have a special request, small-business people will remember what you like and recommend products that will interest you."

Small businesses also are more likely to move into and revitalize a historic area, she said.

"Our downtown is a prime example. The building sizes and architecture are just perfect for smaller boutiques and shops," Bruce said.

Seven businesses have opened on Broadway since the street-renovation project began earlier this year, Mills said. Several more have opened on Main Street.

"We have a lot of uniqueness in what we offer. Things that you're not going to find anywhere else, and in all price ranges. A lot of people mistakenly think of downtown as having higher prices, but we have all kinds of things at all price points," she said.

The shopping environment downtown is more stress-free and slower paced than found in many large stores, she said.

"It can be more of an experience. We have more to offer this year than we ever have before. We have all kinds of new places that have opened this year that offer personalized and individualized gifts."

American Express estimates that last year more than 100 million people participated in Small Business Saturday.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

31 North Main Street, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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