As national retailers are gearing up for the holiday shopping season with Black Friday, independent merchants are hoping they're on consumers' list for Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25.
At the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove, Flaunt Accessories is one of about 10 independently-owned small businesses.
"November is our biggest month of the whole year. We ramp up," said Melissa Hardin, owner of Flaunt Accessories.
Since Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010, it's popularity is growing. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 112 million consumers, a 13 percent increase from 2015, spent $15.4 billion last year at independent retailers nationwide.
At Flaunt Accessories, the store owner not only depends on customers shopping local, she also supplies half of her store with local merchandise.
"For us, we support a lot of small businesses within the shop, so we have over 20 artists, so that means Minnesota makers that are actually in here that create a product and that is their livelihood," said Hardin.
As many big box retailers entice shoppers with Black Friday deals, it's Small Business Saturday that helps fuel the local economy. And there are perks to shopping small business.
"All of our employees are great. They know everything about every product in the store, as opposed to someone who just knows where it is in the store," said Mike Erickson, co-owner of Grey Duck Games & Toys. "If you have questions about board games or toys, you're going to get that kind of experience when you come here."
At Grey Duck Games and Toys, also in Maple Grove's Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, you're encouraged to play with the merchandise.
Co-owner Jordan Lahr juggled clubs as he described a popular product at the store: "these are our juggling clubs, these are called Delphins, they're just your standard juggling club," said Lahr.
Small business owners know they have a big advantage when it comes to building relationships with their customers, and that's a gift that's especially valuable this time of year.
"Once you build that relationship and that foundation, I think there's a loyalty piece, too," said Hardin.
Both small businesses are offering store-wide deals on Small Business Saturday ranging from up to 20 percent off at Grey Duck Games & Toys to 30 percent off all items at Flaunt Accessories.
Alexandra Renslo firstname.lastname@example.org
November 20, 2017