Old Town Cape to celebrate eighth annual Small Business Saturday

Friday, November 24, 2017
Kayla Moore shops at Annie-Em's at Home during last year's Small Business Saturday in Cape Girardeau.
Andrew J. Whitaker

Editor's note: The following story first appeared in November's issue of Business Today.

In the nick of time for local shoppers, Small Business Saturday will be recognized Saturday in Cape Girardeau. The annual event is marking its eighth year and will put local small businesses at the forefront.

"Small Business Saturday is not just about shopping and getting cash registers ringing. It's also about awareness and bringing the community together. Communities can't thrive unless small business thrive," said Samantha Mlot, communications and marketing specialist with Old Town Cape.

That community togetherness means a lot to Emilie Stephens, owner of Annie-Em's at Home since 2001.

"We benefit greatly from SBS. It's one of our biggest sales days of the year. Not only do we see a lot of our regular customers at SBS, but a lot of new faces," she said.

From left, Yvonne Hallman walks with her two daughters Kate Hallman and Emily Hallman during last year's Small Business Saturday in Cape Girardeau.
Andrew J. Whitaker

SBS was started in 2010 by American Express to recognize small businesses throughout the nation.

This year, Old Town Cape will host a welcoming reception from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Minglewood Brewery. The reception is free and includes information on participating businesses, a downtown guide, downtown swag and a raffle for downtown Cape T-shirts. Each participating business will have a minimum giveaway of $25.

A longtime partner, Stephens again will be part of Small Business Saturday and is looking forward to another successful year.

"I think it's a great way to encourage the community to show their support of businesses they love," she said.

For Stephens, though, that love is about more than business as usual. It also is about the return investment for the community.

"Small businesses have so much competition, whether its big-box stores, Amazon, the internet. We are constantly competing with stores that have a much larger stream of revenue [and a] marketing department. When you buy an item from a big-box store you have no idea where your money is going. However, when someone supports a local business in their community they are helping a family pay a mortgage, send their kids to school, buy groceries. They are returning some of that money back into their own community through sales tax. That sales tax is then used to improve the community's parks, schools, roads, libraries. It's a win-win for all," Stephens said.

While the purpose of SBS is to draw support and revenue for local small businesses, the real limelight is for its residents.

"We love seeing downtown Cape filled with people," Mlot said.

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