With a visit to the downtown area, Santa Claus kicked off Small Business Saturday as hundreds of individuals visited Milford to shop local. Businesses around Milford celebrated the yearly event that has become as much as a holiday tradition as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday encourages individuals to support their local area by spending their holiday money in their local town. Occurring the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this day celebrates the importance of small businesses in communities around the nation.
Chuck Stanko and George Carroll, the owners of Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop in downtown Milford, saw an increase in their business this past Saturday and state that the day was more successful than their experience last year. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), half of U.S. consumers reported that they were aware of Small Business Saturday, and among those who were aware, 82% said they planned to patronize a small, independently owned retailer or restaurant on November 29. After just six hours, Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop had received 203 orders, as four baristas worked tirelessly as the line out the door continued to grow.
“It is remarkable how people want to come out and support us,” commented Stanko. “This year’s turnout has already been better than last year and people have bought more. Many customers commented that they were here specifically for Small Business Saturday and that they wanted to thank us for being here.” He stated that business does decrease for his small business on Black Friday and that Small Business Saturday helps to make up for those losses in sales.
Throughout the year, Stanko encourages his patrons to visit other small businesses in town. “Most of the money that is made by local businesses stays local,” said Stanko. A study performed by the economic development consultancy Civic Economics, shows that for every $100 spent in a locally owned business $68 stays in the local economy compared to just $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business. “Every small business in town is visited by many schools, churches and organizations throughout the year to ask for help for local causes. We support our local little league and several other organizations in Milford and I know that other small business owners do as well.”
According to NFIB research, 77% of consumers say Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop small all year long. Milford resident and local travel agent Patti Pesia said that her family not only visited several local shops on Saturday but made purchases at almost every one. She also makes an effort to teach her children the importance of shopping local all year.
“I try to shop locally year round. Partly because I’m a small business owner myself and I understand the implications of shopping locally and keeping my money local. Partly because I enjoy interacting with my neighbors and fellow business people and you really get a level of service at small businesses that you can’t get anywhere else,” stated Persia. “It is important for me to shop at these stores, and especially to bring my children so they understand the importance of keeping my money here in our downtown area.” She says that she was especially excited to welcome some of the new businesses in downtown Milford including Delaware Branding Company and Jarmany’s Closet, both located on NW Front Street.
Local realtor Melody Mackert said that she shopped on Small Business Saturday at EcoChic in downtown Milford and that she “shops Blooming Boutique, Sugar Bee, Dolce and Georgia House regularly.”
“I believe in supporting our local economy as much as possible, commented Mackert. “I believe that if we want to see our community thrive we need to support it.”
Looking at the number of families and individuals shopping in downtown Milford alone on Saturday, it was evident to see that Small Business Saturday was a success for many small business owners. The national movement to support small business continues to grow and entrepreneurs around the country hope that individuals continue to shop locally this holiday season and throughout the year.