Since its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday has offered a much needed holiday boost to local businesses across the nation.
In fact, American Express, the official sponsor of the program, reports that spending on that day has now reached over $100 billion throughout the US – not a bad takeaway for only nine days of shopping.
And here on Staten Island, shop owners are uniting to further increase those numbers in 2019.
“Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize small and local brick and mortar businesses and many small business owners typically run marketing specials to generate even more sales, so this is a wonderful event for both business owners and shoppers alike,” explained Niles French, director of the New Dorp Lane Business Improvement District (BID) and senior project manager for the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC).
Launched as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the event, which is always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, has grown extensively during its nine-year run. In 2018, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high of $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.
On Nov. 30, that momentum continues and many Staten Island merchants are upping their game.
“Because the New Dorp Lane BID sees Small Business Saturday as a collective marketing piece for all of the strip’s businesses, we have created a digital online coupon that offers shoppers a discount on all of their purchases,” French said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this sort of collaboration; going paperless to offer a district-wide shopping opportunity. I think it will be a great success.”
It’s just one example of how store participation is moving beyond a simple sticker in the window.
“All of the Merchants Associations – Richmond Road, Richmond Valley, Victory Boulevard and Huguenot – will be prepping for Small Business Saturday about a week before, highlighting offers on social media and carrying their marketing plans through until the holidays,” French said. “They want to highlight the awareness around it, treat it as more than just a day. Small Business Saturday will be a lead-in into Christmas Tree lightings, holiday strolls and other seasonal events.”
Gary Fleming, president of the South Shore BID, says there are similar efforts taking place in his district.
“The BID supports Small Business Saturday through coordinated social media and in-store efforts such as distribution of Small Business Saturday collateral materials as well as encouraging owners to create promotions for the day,” Fleming noted.
And according to French, the 2019 Small Business Saturday will see the largest participation of Staten Island BID businesses to date.
“Because of the attention that this event has drawn to small business, many local shop owners are being more proactive about participating,” French concluded. “Our restaurant crawls and car shows bring a lot of foot traffic and interest to the Lane. I believe this event will continue to do the same.”