Local businesses ready for Small Business Saturday
Today, Saturday, Nov. 30, has been adopted by local businesses. The American Express-sponsored Small Business Saturday aims to help small merchants like the ones that serve the Park City community.
"They are what make Park City such a great town, and they are the reason the Chamber/Bureau is able to operate the way we do," said Christiaan Boer, communications coordinator for the Park City Chamber/Bureau. "They are the reason our community is such a strong, close-knit one, because so many people are engrained and passionate about not just making sure the local stores here are doing well but that the community is doing well."
From shops on Main Street to shops on Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard, Park City is full of local businesses that help generate money to be circulated through the community. This year, Park City Chamber/Bureau is working with American Express for the first time to help promote the event.
"American Express shipped us a lot of doormats and stickers, and we gave them to our local businesses to help promote Small Business Saturday," said Amy Kersey, communications manager. "They include these decals to put on their windows asking customers to shop local."
Boer said the Chamber/Bureau has also been posting on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to encourage Parkites and visitors to shop at the local businesses he said help make Park City stand out as a mountain destination.
Executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance Alison Butz said Main Street will not only be open for business but will host a plethora of holiday traditions on Saturday. They will host a window display contest, the lighting of the lights on Main Street and the Christmas tree and the annual Electric Parade.
She said the Historic Park City Alliance is also working with American Express this year to provide marketing pieces to vendors, much like the ones the Chamber/Bureau received. Free parking will also be available for those who want to shop on Main Street through Dec. 20.
"It is a time to come and support small business, because most employees here in town are from local businesses," Butz said. "Any time you spend a dollar at a local business, it is circulated throughout the community, so it is important to understand its importance in our local economy."
Park City Clothing Company, owned by Doug Hollinger, has been open on Main Street for 20 years. Hollinger said he is grateful that American Express "thinks of the little guys" and promotes the importance of helping small, local businesses.
"This is the third or fourth year we have participated in this program, and we usually prepare with some additional sales in the store," Hollinger said. "It helps us to bring in a few extra customers, so we are lucky and happy that a big name like American Express does a little something to help get people to shop local."
Sue Fassett, manager of Dolly’s Bookstore on Main Street, said she expects this to be the independently-owned bookseller’s biggest Small Business Saturday yet thanks to the Indies First Movement formulated by author Sherman Alexie.
According to their website, Alexie said the movement calls on authors to show their support for independent booksellers by signing up to work at their favorite indie bookstore on Small Business Saturday. Dolly’s will have two authors in the store – J.R. Johansson and Robert Neubecker – each with a table of eight books they will be recommending to customers.
"I cannot say enough how important or how great it is that our community supports independent booksellers," Fassett said. "People are becoming more and more aware that if they want any independent store to survive, they have to shop there."
Boer urged the importance of small business, quoting a press release from the Chamber/Bureau. In the release, it states that according to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration, as of 2012, small businesses nationwide accounted for 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs created and represented 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
It also quoted a Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, stating that "Small Business Saturday supporters reported spending over $5.5 billion at independently-owned businesses on that day last year."
"Park City has so many small businesses that we are just excited to get everybody out in the community spending money on them," Boer said. "We always have good shopping totals around this time, and we hope that carries on into this year."
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.