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Small Business Saturday helps even playing field

Small businesses still participate in Black Friday, but Small Business Saturday has become a bigger sales day.

David Weissman
717-505-5431/@DispatchDavid

Less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, stores big and small are already preparing for one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.


Large chain stores including Walmart and Target will offer their typical “doorbuster” deals for Black Friday, such as $8 video games or $149 big-screen HDTVs.


These stores will also once again open on Thanksgiving day, a relatively new phenomenon that small business owners have said “killed” the day for small retailers.


“I won’t force my employees to work on Thanksgiving, and I don’t want to,” said Caroline Morris, owner of Kimman’s for Gifts in York City.


Morris said that once the bigger chains started opening on Thanksgiving, Black Friday became just another “whatever” weekend sales day in terms of numbers. The day after has become much more important, she said.


American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 to bring attention to the importance of supporting small, local businesses, according to its website.


Downtown Inc is helping coordinate the efforts of these businesses in downtown York, and 14 businesses have submitted their deals to the organization as of Monday afternoon, according to Kristen Evans, events and marketing coordinator.

While the big box stores such as Walmart and Target prepare for doorbuster deals on Black Friday, small businesses such aa Kimman's Co., 57 N. Beaver St., York, prepare for Small Business Saturday with deals less crazy, but still popular. Thursday Nov. 19, 2015.

Downtown Inc has been helping advertise Small Business Saturday since 2013, Evans said, and many downtown businesses report “banner days.”


Kimman’s is certainly one of those businesses, according to Morris, who said the day consistently outperforms the sales of other Saturdays by “more than 200 percent.”


“We are eternally grateful to American Express,” she said. “It’s very fun for us.”


Allison Given, manager of York City stores Redeux and 56 Urban Provisions, got her first taste of Small Business Saturday last year and also reported “huge” sales numbers compared to other days of the year.

Given said the day, in addition to boosting sales figures, serves as a reminder of the importance of shopping locally.


“Even if consumers don’t necessarily (come in on Small Business Saturday), it reminds them to look at their neighbors and see what small businesses they can support,” she said.

While the big box stores such as Walmart and Target prepare for doorbuster deals on Black Friday, small businesses such aa Kimman's Co., 57 N. Beaver St., York, prepare for Small Business Saturday with deals less crazy, but still popular. Thursday Nov. 19, 2015.


Many small businesses will also participate in Black Friday, with extended hours and deals, but Morris said it’s more “out of tradition” than increasing sales, at this point.


For a complete list of participating stores and deals offered in downtown York, visit Downtown Inc’s Small Business Saturday Facebook event page.


Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.