by Terry Rogers
Small Business Saturday and the Downtown Milford Holiday Stroll were a huge success according to downtown merchants. The success has encouraged many downtown businesses who hope that people continue to shop locally throughout the holiday season.
“The events were a success for us,” Eugenia Sparks of Irish Rose said. “Sales were up from last year and I think offering 20 percent off in the entire store contributed to the increase. We had a steady stream of customers throughout the events.”
Stephanie Tatman of Dolce believes that events like Small Business Saturday and the Holiday Stroll are the biggest driver of business downtown. Dolce’s business was consistent with past years on Small Business Saturday as well as the Holiday Stroll.
“We served hundreds of smiling faces and sold out completely of some of our treats,” Tatman said. “Events provide a sense of community, a purpose for families to gather and create memories, and an opportunity for small business owners to give back. We create our own events throughout the year, like Dolce Treats with Santa coming up on December 14 and 21. We also collaborate with other businesses to create fun events like the Downtown Desserts Tour. Of course, there are all the other events like Bug & Bud, the Riverwalk Freedom Festival, but we’d love to see even more events downtown throughout the year. In our fast paced society, we believe that our community craves a purpose to gather with friends and make memories with family.”
There are many reasons to shop at local businesses during the holiday season. Often small businesses offer selections that are unique, allowing consumers to purchase one-of-a-kind items that cannot be found in large chain stores. Crowds can be smaller in local stores than they are in large chains allowing people to shop without the stress of long lines. The most convincing reason for most families to shop small is to keep money in the local community, growing the local economy.
For every $100 spent locally, approximately $68 remain in the community while only $48 of that same $100 spent at a large chain remains local. Not only are shoppers able to find unique items that are not available in chains, they also generate 3.5 times more wealth for the local area. Shopping local also fosters a sense of community. Shopping local encourages people to get to know each other. Shoppers get a sense of belonging when they are greeted by name when walking into a store.
Small, local businesses employ 46.9% of the workforce in Delaware so choosing a small business keeps people in the local area employed. Another benefit to shopping locally is that it reduces carbon footprints. Those who live close to downtown shopping areas are able to walk, reducing the use of fossil fuels as well as packaging materials necessary when shopping online.
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