Park City wants small businesses to post big numbers on Saturday
Park City leaders hope the city’s small businesses post big numbers on Saturday.
The Saturday after busy Black Friday will be marked in Park City as Small Business Saturday, a promotion meant to encourage people to shop at smaller businesses. The Park City Council recently passed a Small Business Saturday resolution.
Holiday shopping in Park City is typically solid, but sales during busier parts of the ski season, such as the week between Christmas and New Year’s, are also critical to Park City stores. People shopping for holiday gifts regularly head to Main Street and other commercial districts, where there are concentrations of small businesses. Foot traffic is usually strong on the Friday after Thanksgiving as well as that Saturday.
The resolution passed by the City Council is similar to those in the past. Elected officials in Park City over the years have long seen themselves as supporting small businesses through City Hall policies and programs.
The one-page resolution says City Hall “celebrates our local small businesses and the contributions they make to our local economy and community.” It provides a series of statistics showing the importance of small businesses to the national economy. Citing the U.S. Small Business Administration, the resolution says there are 28.8 million businesses – 99.7 percent of businesses that employ people — that are considered to be small.
The resolution notes that small businesses under independent ownership will represent one-third of someone’s holiday shopping. It also says more than nine out of 10 U.S. consumers “agree that it is important for people to support the small businesses that they value in their community.” Three out of four consumers intend to shop at small businesses during the holidays, the resolution says.
“Park City, Utah, supports our local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy and preserve our neighborhoods,” the resolution says.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 in an effort to boost sales at the businesses amid an economy that remained in doubt after the convulsions on Wall Street and the housing market. The credit card issuer says small businesses generated upward of $15.4 billion in 2016 on Small Business Saturday, describing that 112 million people shopped on that day last year.
American Express says 99.3 percent of the businesses in Utah are considered to be small, or 268,872 businesses. The company classifies businesses as small if they have staffs of 500 or fewer. Nearly all of the businesses in Park City are considered to be small under that definition.
The City Council resolution was not controversial. The resolution, though, was passed at a time when Park City leaders are attempting to support locally owned businesses or smaller chain businesses amid broadened activity in Park City by corporate interests, particularly along Main Street. The corporate interests see Main Street as a showcase location and are willing to pay lease rates higher than many smaller businesses to ensure a highly visible storefront on the popular shopping, dining and entertainment strip. Some smaller businesses have struggled to remain on Main Street in the years since the worst of the recession.
A City Hall report that accompanied the resolution says passage would “demonstrate that the City values its local businesses and promotes them in the community.”
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and we salute small business owners, entrepreneurs, and employees for enhancing our community and expanding opportunities for all the citizens of Park City and the surrounding communities,” the report says. “The hard work and ingenuity of our small businessmen and women are helping to sustain our economic strength, vitality and authenticity.”
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