SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, a national initiative to shop locally and break away from big box stores. However, shoppers this year will notice a few changes due to COVID-19.
For many independent stores, such as Zoolikins Children’s Boutique in Scottsdale, Ariz., Small Business Saturday is typically their busiest day of the year.
“We have done it every year, and this year we are offering 20% off your entire purchase,” said Britney Matz, marketing and event coordinator at Zoolikins.
They now need mask use inside their store due to COVID-19 precautions, and they also added hand-cleaning stations and modernized their website.
“As a children’s store, we have always taken extra precautions to disinfect our customers, we have many pregnant mothers and new mothers and young children … in the register we have a clean pen, used pen system, and we have also increased the frequency of Disinfectant surfaces throughout the store, ”said Matz.
“We rely a lot on foot traffic and tourism, and of course it’s been a struggle … every time I open the store, I still wipe down the door handles and wipe the surfaces down.”
Down the road, art gallery owner Andrea Zakrzewski only accepts customers by appointment.
“So with COVID we wanted to be very careful, so we have been available by appointment, and everyone has to wear a mask, and there is a limit to how many people can be in the gallery at a certain time, and we clean and follow all the protocols so people can feel very safe coming to the gallery, ”said Zakrzewski, owner of Gallery Andrea.
Many small businesses in Scottsdale are dependent on tourism, but with the pandemic, sales are down in the city. But when the holidays come, things start to pick up again.
“No matter what happens, I think supporting small businesses is so great, because that’s what adds character to a community … you come to a small business, they have all kinds of gifts for Christmas, I mean you can just do all your shopping and support locally, ”said Zakrzewski.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 160,000 businesses nationwide have closed their doors, and more than half of them have closed for good, according to the latest Yelp Local Economic Impact Report.
Mark Stanton, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, says small businesses are the backbone of the economy and society because they help create jobs and economic infrastructure.
“What you really see is resilience, you see people saying I do not want to give up, I want to do what I can to provide a service or goods to our customers in our community and to continue to do one. difference. “Unfortunately, there are some companies that can’t handle it,” Stanton said.
Shopping habits have also changed this year as more people try to play it safe by shopping online instead of in person. According to Gallup’s annual holiday spending forecasts, Americans will spend an average of $ 805 on Christmas presents this year, well below the estimate a year ago and the lowest projection for holiday spending since 2016. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration says the economy is recovering. when we go into the holidays.
“During these pandemic times, competition is fierce and so consumers’ temperaments are likely to be on edge at this point, so they will do anything to provide high quality service and hospitality and very unique products,” said Jovita Carranza, administrator of US Small Business Administration.
“Small businesses are by no means small, by the way, there are 31 million small businesses in the United States … Together, we can certainly generate billions of dollars, even in these pandemic periods of holiday season purchases.”
In fact, by shopping locally, you are helping not only the individual business but also the entire community.
“They support society through VAT, you spend those dollars, it stays here, it’s going to work here. The other thing is, for example, in Phoenix, that we have about half a million small businesses, well over a million people employed here, so you also support your neighbors, ”said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber.
Leanna Haakons, author and Black Hawk Financial founder, said this pandemic has forced business owners to get creative and it helps them stay afloat.
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“You know that most small businesses now offer pickup on curbside so you can call in and order or call in and ask about what inventory they have and many of the small businesses are actually getting really creative with some of their offerings like to do online workshops or family meal sets, ”said Haakons. “All your public services, your infrastructure and various things in your own communities are running out of business taxes and individual taxes, so if a lot of small businesses start closing in your area, you may notice a real delay in your public services.”
Haakons said there are other ways to support local businesses without spending money. You can leave a good online review, give a shoutout on social media or ask friends to check them out.