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The Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is no longer in limbo. The day sandwiched by two shopping frenzies provoked by large retailers is now “Small Business Saturday.” It’s an effort created by the federal government’s Small Business Administration.
Across the country, business organizations are encouraging consumers to visit the nearby mom-and-pop store after Black Friday. Bob Layo, President of the Cambria County Chamber of Commerce said it’s important to support local businesses for a variety of reasons.
“When you keep investment in and money that’s earned in the area, in the area, that creates income and creates and retains jobs in a locale,” Layo said.
Bob’s Layo’s counterpart for Westmoreland County, Chad Amond, agreed. He said Westmoreland County has about 1,000 small businesses that are forced to compete with big-box stores.
“It’s appropriate and very much appreciated that there is an effort for Small Business Saturday just to remind people that, hey the local folks are here and able to serve you just as well and in many cases even better than the national organizations,” Amond said.
Somerset County is helping small businesses with marketing for the weekend. Ron Aldom, of Somerset County’s Chamber, said to celebrate “Small Business Saturday,” towns like Somerset and Meyersdale are offering promotions to add that personal touch.
“They are doing some coupons, some buying incentives, they put out some different advertising flyers, brochures that list the different percentages off,” Aldom said. “A lot of businesses are doing some things personally, just adding reasons to make people feel welcome when they come in the door.”
But getting shoppers in the door is only half the battle. Black Friday was given its name because it’s the day that retailers begin to see black ink on their spreadsheets instead red, indicating negative cash flow. But with slow economic growth, retailers could still see red even after their extensive efforts to get consumers to spend money. Somerset County’s Ron Aldom is realistically optimistic that retailers will still experience a Black Friday.
“From listening to conversation, just knowing peoples’ nature, particularly this time of the year, I’m going to feel pretty optimistic,” Aldom said. “I’ve got a good feeling and obviously we need the spending from all aspects, not just from the local aspect.”
The Small Business Administration says 100 million Americans shopped at independently-owned small businesses last year, and hopes for a bigger turnout this year.