Local businesses taking back Thanksgiving weekend
As has become, for better or worse, an American tradition, shoppers will flood large retail stores Thanksgiving night and the following morning, braving crowds and the cold to save a few dollars on holiday shopping.
But while the day after Thanksgiving is for the big guys, small businesses in the area are hoping to take their place in one of the largest shopping weekends of the year.
Many local businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative American Express started in 2010 to encourage people to patronize businesses in their communities. When shoppers spend $10 or more with their American Express credit cards at participating businesses, they get a $10 credit on their card statements. According to American Express’ website, americanexpress.com, shoppers can receive up to three credits.
Alison Butz, executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said Small Business Saturday has become increasingly popular in the area as word has spread. Many merchants in town are taking advantage of the opportunity.
"We jumped on pretty late the first year, then by the second and third years, a lot more awareness was coming on," she said, adding the Historic Park City Alliance will put on events on Main Street throughout Saturday to encourage shoppers. "I think this year will be our biggest year. I think it’s an important piece for the merchants. I mean, Black Friday is Black Friday, but to be able to shine a spotlight on small businesses and what they do for the community is really important."
Business owners in the area have gotten on board. Doug Hollinger, owner of Park City Clothing Company, which has been located on Main Street for 20 years, said large retailers have taken over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend.
"(The weekend) doesn’t have the impact that it used to, with all these big box stores opening 24 hours a day, you can go in and get your free whatever," he said. "It’s definitely taken impact away from us, because you cannot compete with those big box stores. And to be honest, we don’t want to. We’re not in it for that."
But Hollinger is optimistic Small Business Saturday is helping local stores take back the weekend. He said Park City Clothing Company has received a noticeable bump in sales since it began participating in the event and many customers use American Express cards that day.
"It definitely makes a difference," he said, adding his store typically coordinates promotions to line up with the event. "We have customers who say they’re going to come in Saturday. We’re all for it. We wish it would happen a couple of times a year. We definitely notice an increase on that particular Saturday."
Katie Hammond, owner of Cake Boutique on Main Street, agreed that Small Business Saturday is gaining momentum. She said that locals are more inclined to spend their money locally during the Thanksgiving weekend than ever.
"There’s no excuse anymore," she said. "I’d say 10 years ago, you had reasons to shop in Salt Lake City, but that’s just not the case anymore. You have everything you need up here."
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