Businesses look forward to Small Business Saturday

DOWAGIAC — As residents are still recovering from their Thanksgiving food comas this weekend, Dowagiac business leaders are asking that residents get out and about tomorrow to support downtown businesses.

Small Business Saturday, a national shopping holiday celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, will be taking place in Dowagiac tomorrow. Small Business Saturday was a movement created by American Express in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which celebrate big box stores and ecommerce, respectively. Small Business Saturday, in contrast, celebrates local, mostly brick and mortar, small businesses.

“Small Business Saturday is a day to do our part for those businesses that do so much for our community,” said Vickie Phillipson, program director of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority.  “It’s a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors. It’s a day to think big, doing our part to support the businesses that are the heartbeat of Dowagiac, as you shop these small and local businesses.”

In preparation for Small Business Saturday, Phillipson has placed Small Business Saturday signage on display this week at several locations within the community to remind residents to shop local. However, she is not the only one excited for the day. Several downtown business owners said they are looking forward to the day-long event as well.

“Small Business Saturday is important because it promotes local businesses, and it serves to make people aware that when you shop locally, a very high percentage of your dollars stay local instead of going to corporate overhead,” said Kris Soenen, owner of WHO kNEW? Consignment, 119 S. Front St. “We want to keep our small towns vibrant and shopping local is one way to do that.”

Because of the marketing exposure that Small Business Saturday brings, Soenen said that the holiday tends to bring with it an uptick in both local and nonresidential customers to Dowagiac’s downtown businesses.

“We get people from South Bend, Grand Rapids and anywhere in between,” she said.

For June Nemeth, owner of Yarn on Front, 122 S. Front St., Small Business Saturday holds a special place in her heart, as she opened her specialty yarn shop on the holiday in 2016. Tomorrow marks her second anniversary.

This is a day I can let my customers know how much I appreciate them, as much as I hope they appreciate me,” Nemeth said. “[Shopping local] keeps you connected to your community. If you take away small business, you don’t have a town of Dowagiac anymore.”

Outside of Dowagiac retail stores, Phillipson reminded residents to visit downtown restaurants Saturday, as well.

“Collectively, these companies breathe life into our community,” she said. “The uniqueness of our specialty shops and the vibrancy of the fine and casual dining, offered by Wood Fire Italian Trattoria to The Wounded Minnow Saloon and Beeson Street Bar and Grill, is what sets Dowagiac a part from other communities our size.”

No matter what business appeals to any given resident, be it a retail store, restaurant or service based shop, Phillipson asked that the people of Dowagiac get out of the house Saturday to support a local business.

“Choosing to shop local on Small Business Saturday and on everyday strengthens our community and our future,” Phillipson said. “Small business owners, from retail to manufacturing, provide jobs, preserve neighborhoods and feed the local economy. When economic times are tough, they struggle right alongside each and every one of us.  They share our dreams for Dowagiac and our hope for the future.”

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