Small stores throughout the Grand Strand are claiming a holiday shopping day all their own – Small Business Saturday.
The initiative is a way to shine light on smaller local stores and urge shoppers to consider shopping locally when making their purchases the weekend after Thanksgiving.
For years people have gone out to scoop up Black Friday deals and in 2005 the holiday shopping experience expanded to include Cyber Monday for online customers. In the last couple of years, stores have opted to open on Thanksgiving Day. Then in 2010 American Express launched Small Business Saturday.
Local chambers of commerce have embraced the idea with many small businesses taking part.
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In Myrtle Beach, Mayor John Rhodes and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board member Kim Eileen are joining local business members at the Market Common on Saturday to commemorate the day at noon outside the Kangaroo Pouch.
The Kangaroo Pouch is one of several stores at the Market Common participating. Others include the Xtreme Surf & Skateboard Co., Rug Décor, Random and Bijuju.
“Small businesses [are] our local economy. They’re the businesses that keep our economy strong,” said Diana Greene, executive vice president of membership for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has supported Small Business Saturday since 2010. “The money [spent] is going to stay in the local economy as well.”
The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce is participating in the initiative for the first time this year, but Richard Taylor, owner of The Clothes Center in North Myrtle Beach, said he has taken part since 2010.
“The biggest thing is it’s good for the customers,” he said.
He said discounts at his store, located at 219 Main St. in North Myrtle Beach, rolled over from Black Friday to Small Business Saturday.
“Sales and deals help everybody. You’ve got to have it on sale and got to have some type of deal for them,” Taylor said. “In this economy we’ve all got to work together.”
Similarly, Random at the Market Common has mark downs up to 70 percent.
Bijuju, which sells jewelry and accessories at the Market Common, Broadway at the Beach and the Tanger Outlets on U.S. 17, will have mark downs between 20 and 40 percent. The Kangaroo Pouch is giving away $10 gift cards to the first 15 customers starting when the store opens at 10 a.m.
Marc Jordan, president and CEO of the North Myrtle Beach chamber, said he’s spoken with some business owners who said they wanted to join the chamber because of its participation in Small Business Saturday.
He said the marketing campaign helps them get customers to the store. The North Myrtle Beach chamber distributed “Shop Small: Small Business Saturday” welcome mats to its members.
“Small businesses have a hard time getting the word out,” Jordan said. “Honestly, we believe that the larger retailers are going to get their share. [Small Business Saturday] puts a nice emphasis on our small businesses.”
Greene said that even if customers are unable to make it to small businesses on Saturday, just hearing about the campaign serves as a reminder.
“But it’s more than just about getting people to shop on one day. It’s great if we can get people in the small businesses on Saturday,” Greene said. “It’s a reminder campaign – don’t forget that these guys are here and they have great [merchandise].”
For more information, including a list of local stores, visit shopsmall.com