Shop Small Saturdays November 29th – Support Small Business


On Small Business Saturday, merchants hope to attract customers on the second day of the Christmas shopping season

In Port Chester, NY, shoppers are always strolling Main Street and Broadway looking for unique items and bargains. Same thing in Rye. Purchase Street is lined with small shops that offer everything from jewelry to shoes to children’s clothes, even consignment.

And if it seems as if many are already crossing items off their holiday to-do list, they are. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, early-bird shoppers have already been out and about this year. The survey found 40 percent begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. Others wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

To help promote local businesses, the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce is planning to offer deals designed to get residents to shop locally on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29.

“We have reached out to everybody in the town to get them thinking about what else they might want to do on that day,” said Nancy Shenker, the Chappaqua-Millwood chamber’s president.

The goal is to attract shoppers with a bargain on the second day of the Christmas shopping season while reminding them that small businesses are the key to a vibrant local downtown or shopping district.

Joe Albaum of Pleasantville said his post-Thanksgiving Saturday tradition is to go to a ski shop in Brewster to prepare for winter, but said he appreciated Chappaqua’s three hours of free parking during the holiday shopping season.

“You don’t have to worry about getting a ticket,” Albaum said as he and his wife sat outside Starbucks.

Small Business Saturday is a promotion launched by American Express in 2010 to promote small, independent merchants. It’s morphed into a national observance with races, parties or any other kind of promotion that will attract patrons.

By the end of October, more than 2,000 people registered as “neighborhood champions” with American Express, promising to recruit at least 10 businesses in their communities to recognize the day.

“Last year it was a huge success for the village. It was our most successful day of the holiday season from an economic point of view,” said Ross. “I think people are becoming more aware and wanting their community merchants to be successful.”

Across the street from Ross’ shop, Mark Mangan just finished having a late breakfast at Johnny Cakes. Mangan, 51, of New Rochelle, said he supports the concept.

“The merchants are turning over merchandise, whether it’s for a cheaper price, it brings people in and keeps the town thriving,” said Mangan.

Rye’s chamber of commerce is turning Small Business Saturday into a weekend event by encouraging shopping Saturday and then throwing a Mistletoe Magic festival on Sunday by closing Purchase Street and offering entertainment.

Both Ross and Shenker noted that the endeavor isn’t about getting locals to shop small once a year, but building new relationships that last throughout the year.

“If you have a new face that never shopped there before and you gave them an experience they liked, you’ve cultivated a new customer,” Shenker said.