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Holiday shoppers are familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. But for the last two years, a new shopping trend has been sweeping the nation: Small Business Saturday.
Area businesses from Mendota to Streator and from Seneca to Princeton are participating in the third annual event, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Economic developers and business associations work to encourage shoppers to spend locally right at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Princeton Chamber of Commerce director Kim Frey said it’s important for everyone to get involved.
“Not only are these small business owners our friends and our neighbors, but they are the driving force behind our regional economy,” she said. “For every $100 spent at locally owned, independent stores, more than half of it returns to the regional economy through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.”
A press release from Illinois Valley Area Chamber called small businesses “the heartbeat of our community.”
“IVAC absolutely supports Small Business Saturday,” said executive director Marci Duro. “A large portion of our membership is made up of small business. Our community depends on it.”
Dale Vlastnik, owner of Vlastnik’s Menswear in Peru, participated in the event last year. “We thought it was successful last year, and we’re looking forward to it again this year,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful way of reminding people that the end-all is not the big box stores.”
Many area businesses are promoting special sales to entice consumers to “Shop Small,” but Vlastnik said he relies on his store’s everyday low prices.
“Unlike the big box stores, we don’t jack prices way up and trick people into thinking they’re getting a good deal when they’re getting something at half price,” Vlastnik said. His store will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Gary Bruce, owner of Bruce Jewelers in Princeton, also emphasized the difference between his store and a larger retailer. In a bigger store, “custom” jewelry means customers can select which stone they want. At Bruce Jewelers, it means they start from scratch.
“We have craftsmen here,” Bruce said, “who provide services that the larger stores wouldn’t even attempt to offer.”
The business restores antique jewelry and watches, provides engraving services and performs diamond setting in the store.
Tri City Frock Shoppe, 559 First St., La Salle, is participating in Small Business Saturday to show its community spirit.
“We want the community to know we value their commitment to small businesses in the area,” said Mary Klinefelter, a partner. “We also are doing a giveaway during Small Business Saturday to show our appreciation to our customers. We are giving a free pair of earrings with a purchase of $50 or more.”
Klinefelter said she was not sure if the public understood how important it is to shop locally.
“Out of every $100 spent at a small business locally, $70 stays in the community,” she said. “For every $100 spent at a big box store, only $40 stays locally.”
Tri City Frock Shoppe will be open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Small Business Saturday.
Bruce Jewelers is a third-generation family owned company that has been serving the area since 1946.
“The size of our business isn’t a reflection of our inventory or service,” Bruce said, adding that the store has the same products and services found in larger businesses, but with superior customer care.
Gina Czubachowski, business specialist at the Illinois small business development center of Illinois Valley Community College, supports shopping at small businesses. Spending locally keeps money within the community, she said, in addition to supporting local families who benefit the area.
“Many small businesses have contributed to growth in our area and slowly but surely created jobs in our area,” Czubachowski said.
Bruce Jewelers staffs five full-time and three part-time employees, making it a “significant employer” in Princeton, according to Bruce.
The jewelry store will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and will be selling watches at 20-50 percent off and clocks at 20 percent off for Small Business Saturday.
Rick White, owner of Mendota True Value, said those who shop locally save themselves a lot of moving around, get quality goods and services and have an easier, in-and-out shopping experience. Residents might be surprised to learn their local businesses are extremely well-stocked, as well.
“We add to the richness of the community,” White said.
Mendota True Value will be open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Specials include folding chairs for $9.99, 70-count Christmas light sets for $7.99 and 100-piece screwdriver sets for $9.97.
The city of Mendota is promoting small-business shopping this holiday season with its “Shop Local” contest. Shoppers can pick up a contest card at a participating store. Now through Dec. 31, they will receive a sticker for their card every time they spend $20 at a participating retailer. Shoppers who buy in at least three participating stores and turn in a full card by Jan. 3 will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a gift basket containing donated merchandise and gift certificates.
Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by:
Please you have to find a better definition for small business. No, really, I have no idea what is ment by thay term as it has come t mean any thing from an owner operated to a business that employs several hundred persons. I am not trieng to be troublesome or split hairs, I'm not, I just want to know. Put a meaning on what small means. So please, let us know what "you" mean by small. The better business bureau needs to define that term You, know five hundred to six thousand acres is not a small family farm. That is big business and needs to be called and treated that way. So, like I said, not being just cranky. It matters..
You know, like one to twenty. It matters as that term has been used and still is used ad nauseum during and leading up to the last election.
Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by:
Spring Valley businesses are having specials, too - I hear Valley Flowers and Gifts, and Valley Coin Jewelry and Pawn have deals tomorrow.
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