What suburban stores are doing in hopes you give them a Small Business Saturday boost
In between the time you buy your new TV at a big-box store on Black Friday and you order your shoes online on Cyber Monday, businesses such as Bootery Boutique in Libertyville would like you to drop a few bucks at their stores on Small Business Saturday.
It is the 12th annual "holiday" conducted by the credit card company American Express, with a goal of driving $100 billion in spending at small businesses through 2025.
"It is almost bigger than Black Friday for us," said Cristina Garrison, Bootery Boutique's owner. The shop, in business since 2005, sells clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts.
The nonprofit Libertyville MainStreet downtown promotion organization lists at least a dozen restaurants and stores offering deals Saturday. Bootery Boutique is having a progressive sale, starting with 30% discounts at 9 a.m., 20% discounts at noon and 15% from 3 p.m. to closing.
People make a day of shopping downtown with their friends, Garrison said. "It is just a feel-good type of day," Garrison said.
Some towns didn't wait for Small Business Saturday to promote their local businesses. Arlington Heights had its event last weekend. Batavia had a "Pink Friday" Nov. 19 for its Boardwalk Shops -- new businesses incubated in 10 tiny cottage-style buildings.
In Glen Ellyn, Small Business Saturday falls in the middle of a weekend that kicks off Christmastime revelry.
"We don't have a lot of large businesses and franchises," said Dawn Smith, executive director of the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, which is running a "shop small" promotion. She cited a Small Business Administration statistic that 67 cents of every dollar spent in a small business goes back into the town.
"The small businesses make the downtown walkable and quaint," Smith said, making the village "much more appealing as a whole."
Smith said the town's small businesses give a lot of charitable support to churches and schools.
"This is the time where everybody needs to pay them back," Smith said. "Make it a full season."
In downtown Geneva, Lynne Ball, manager of Liz & Kate Boutique, said she typically doesn't do Small Business Saturday sales. But she may reward shoppers with a small gift or offer a surprise discount at the register.
"We look at (Small Business Saturday) as a very special day," she said.
"We definitely see an influx of foot traffic and sales."
The shop sells women's clothing and accessories.
Smith said Glen Ellyn boutiques have unique items a shopper is unlikely to find on Amazon.com. "We have a little bit of everything," she said. And customers can buy gift cards or Glen Ellyn gift certificates, allowing people to pick out something themselves.
Ball said that while supply-chain issues are greatly affecting product availability at big-box stores this year, she has flexibility they don't to keep her store stocked, working with manufacturers to get different products she can receive within a few days.
"We also work with many local, regional and Made in the USA businesses who can accommodate our requests," Ball said.
It is important for people to do in-person shopping in their towns at stores big and small, Ball said.
"When you spend money locally, that supports local workers," Ball said. "It is important to shop physically. Get up and get in the car and get out."