Shop Small

Hallye Strickland, PCHS work-based learning student and Davis Feed Boutique employee, folds T-shirts in the clothing store’s new men’s section. The boutique will offer several Shop Small deals this weekend.

Business community urges holiday shoppers to ‘Shop Small’, boost Pierce Co. economy

Be sure to check out “Shop Small for the Holidays” deals around town Friday and Saturday, November 29-30, when you start your Christmas shopping.

Black Friday deals at Walmart may meet the need for a new TV or entertainment center, but shoppers aren’t likely to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person there. Instead, locals might be able to mark several items off their Christmas shopping list right here in Blackshear this weekend, and help boost the local economy while they’re at it.

Shop Small Saturday was launched by American Express (yes, the credit card company) in 2010, but is a movement now championed nationwide by local officials in many areas and here at home.

Pierce County’s “Shop Small for the Holidays” initiative is promoted locally by The Blackshear Times and the Better Hometown/Main Street Blackshear Program.

The shopping event is dedicated to supporting local businesses and their owners who are oftentimes friends and family members to their customers. It’s a celebration of “mom and pop” shops, hometown boutiques, antique stores and more. 

I saw a quote the other day that said, ‘Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want,’ and that is so true when it comes to small businesses within our hometown,” says Bethany Strickland, Better Hometown manager. “When we shop small, we support big dreams and that’s what Blackshear and Pierce County is all about ... Big Dreams!”

Strickland encourages locals to participate in the 10th annual national campaign.

“This Nov 30, Blackshear and Pierce County can be a part of the ... shopping tradition that helps to bring communities together in support of their favorite small businesses,” she says. “Shopping small can make a big impact in your community.”

The Georgia Main Street Program reports for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 is returned to the local economy, and local businesses reinvest in the local economy at a 60 percent higher rate than chain retailers.

“Spending locally instead of online ensures your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong ... in your community,” adds Vicki Knapp, Chamber of Commerce president and owner of The Sewing Bee.

Customers are likely to get better service from small business owners, too.

“A small business owner is going to go the extra mile to make a customer happy,” Knapp says. “Small businesses carry unique products and services that you won’t find anywhere else. They are passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?”

Michelle Davis, owner of Davis Feed Boutique on Main Street, says the Shop Small promotion definitely helps draw people downtown for seasonal specials and sales.

Many of Davis’ customers are teachers, looking to start their holiday shopping this weekend after receiving their Christmas bonuses. They are on the hunt for good deals, she says.

“They’re going ahead because it’s on sale and buying for family and friends,” Davis says.

The promotion also draws new customers to Davis’ boutique.

“I appreciate all of our customers but it does help draw new people in who haven’t been in,” Davis says.

She’s noticed business steadily increasing at her store on Shop Small weekend since she opened five years ago. It’ll be all hands on deck for her employees this Friday and Saturday.

“I tell them to go home and get a good night’s rest and be ready to work because it’s going to be crazy,” Davis says with a laugh.

The promotion benefits all downtown businesses because most shoppers don’t just hit one store, she adds.

“It helps everybody around us,” Davis says. “I think it’s good for the whole community.”

Supporting small, local businesses  – not just on Shop Small weekend, but all year long – helps make our community a “destination,” Knapp points out.

“The more interesting and unique your community, the more we will attract new neighbords, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!” Knapp says.

Check Pages X and X of this week’s print issue for a listing of “Shop Small for the Holidays” deals. Those specials will also be advertised on The Times Facebook page.