YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Black Friday shopping may be all the rage next week but it’s the day after — Small Business Saturday — that has experienced a large increase in spending.
American Express — the sponsor of the nationwide event — said last year saw 13 percent more shoppers compared to 2015. That’s 112 million people spending their money on Main Street instead of Wall Street.
Almost a dozen boxes sit inside 850 Blues on Route 224 in Boardman, waiting to be opened. The woman’s boutique is preparing for one of its busiest days next weekend.
“More and more people attend the event. They like to shop local. We have special gifts as a thank you,” Sandy Stanislav said.
And Sandy’s right.
The National Retail Federation said holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend is attracting more people. Last year’s holiday weekend had 3 million more people in stores.
In particular, Small Business Saturday saw a huge jump in customers at local stores and restaurants.
“We don’t physically have a product for sale that day but we have a lot on the line,” said Derrick McDowell, who runs the Youngstown Flea.
He’s holding an online contest, giving $1,000 to the business that garners the most social media involvement.
“We want shops to know how much we support them and sometimes the best way to do that is financially,” McDowell said.
He is partnering with several businesses for Small Business Saturday. They aren’t just in Youngstown, either, with businesses from Columbiana, Girard, and Warren all involved.
It’s part of a collaborative effort to shop small in the Youngstown area.
“I think the difference for Shop Small Saturday is knowing that I am supporting someone from my local community and that’s well worth whatever I gotta go through to do that,” McDowell said.
To discover some of the small businesses in the Valley, along with the special deals they’re offering, check out WKBN.com’s Small Business Saturday section.