For the past decade, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, shoppers have been encouraged to “shop small.” The event, created by American Express to encourage shoppers to spend their holiday dollars purchasing items from local stores and vendors. For downtown Milford merchants, the arrival of Santa has helped encourage people to spend the day shopping downtown.
“This year’s Small Business Saturday sales were outstanding,” Eugenia Sparks, owner of Irish Rose Gift Shop, which celebrated eight years in business in Milford in November, said. “I think two things contributed to the increase in sales. Daily video postings on the Irish Rose Facebook page and the expansion of our shop into the retail spot next door which showcase beautiful woolen sweaters, capes, hats and scarves from Ireland.”
Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop noticed many new and familiar faces in their store on Small Business Saturday.
“Nearly every day has felt like Small Business Saturday for us, and we are extremely grateful for the support of our community!” Stephanie Tatman, co-owner of Dolce, said. “We didn’t notice the crowd lining the street for Santa’s arrival this year and their absence was noticed in comparison to other years. Despite that, it was still a great day and a fantastic start to the holiday season.”
Mispillion Art Gallery was open for business. They did not offer specials as each artist prices their creations themselves. The Gallery does have a section of Christmas items which change often, so shoppers are encouraged to stop in to see what is available.
In 2010, American Express created the idea of Small Business Saturday and the movement quickly gained momentum. In 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the day and officials in all 50 states participated in the event that year.
“You might not realize it, but every time you pick up a cup of coffee from your favorite neighborhood café or buy a gift form a local artist’s online store, you’re shopping small and making a difference,” reads the Shop Small section of the American Express website. “Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition, just one part of the larger Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Because shopping at a family-owned framing spot or buying a homemade ring from your favorite online small business helps to promote more vibrant communities.”
Another holiday shopping tradition that is less official than Small Business Saturday is Cyber Monday. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, many people who were unable to locate items in stores on Black Friday or locally on Small Business Saturday shop online, searching for the perfect gifts. Some local retailers offered deals on Cyber Monday such as same day pickup in their store or discounts on items.
“We didn’t do anything for Cyber Monday,” Tatman said. “We do have electronic gift cards available!”
Sparks explained that she was closed on Cyber Monday and currently does not sell online.
“I am working on setting something up after the first of the year,” Sparks said. “Thank you to all who shopped at Irish Rose. Your presence was so appreciated.”
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