SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – Closed between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, a national initiative to shop locally and break away from the big box stores. This year, however, buyers will notice several changes due to COVID-19.
For many independent stores, such as Zoolikins Children’s Boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona, Small Business Saturday is usually their busiest day of the year.
“We did it every year and this year we offer a 20% discount on your entire purchase,” said Britney Matz, marketing and event coordinator at Zoolikins.
Now they need to use masks in their store due to the precautions for COVID-19, and have also added hand sanitizers and updated their website.
“So as a children’s boutique we have always taken extra precautions to rehabilitate our customers, we have many pregnant mothers and new mothers and young children … we have a clean pen in the register, a pen system used and also increased the frequency of surface remediation throughout the store, “Mats said.
“We rely a lot on pedestrian traffic and tourism, and it’s obviously been a struggle … every time I open the store, I still wipe the door handles and wipe the surfaces.”
Down the road, the owner of the art gallery, Andrea Zakrzewski, only accepts clients by appointment.
“So with COVID we wanted to be very careful, so we were available by appointment and everyone has to wear a mask and there is a limit to the number of people that can be in the gallery at a given time, and we disinfect and follow all the protocols, so that people can feel very safe coming to the gallery, “said Zakrzewski, owner of Andrea Gallery.
Many small businesses in Scottsdale rely on tourism, but with the pandemic, sales are declining across the city. With the advent of the holidays, however, things are beginning to recover.
“No matter what happens, I think the support for small business is so great because it’s what adds character to the community … get to a small business that has all kinds of gifts for Christmas, I mean you can just do all your shopping and support the locals, ”said Zakrzewski.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 160,000 companies across the country have closed their doors and more than half of them have closed forever, according to the latest Yelp local economic impact report.
Mark Stanton, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, says small business is the backbone of the economy and the community because they help create jobs and economic infrastructure.
“What you actually see is sustainability, you see people who say I will not give up, I will do what I can to provide a service or goods to our customers in our community and keep making a difference. “Unfortunately, there are some businesses that can’t handle it,” Stanton said.
This year, shopping habits have changed as more people try to play it safe by shopping online instead of in person. According to Gallup’s annual holiday spending estimates, Americans will spend an average of $ 805 on Christmas presents this year, well below its forecast a year ago and the lowest holiday spending estimate of 2016. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration says the economy is coming back as we head for the holidays.
“During these pandemic times, the competition is fierce and therefore the consumer temperament is probably on the edge at the moment, so they strive to provide quality services and hospitality and many unique products,” said Jovita Karanza, administrator of the US Small Business Administration.
“Small business is by no means small, by the way, there are 31 million small businesses in the United States … Together, we can definitely generate billions of dollars, even during these pandemic holiday shopping periods.”
In fact, by shopping locally, you are not only helping this individual business, but the entire community.
“They support the community through sales taxes, you will spend those dollars, it will stay here, it will go to work here. The other thing is that in Phoenix we have about half a million small businesses, over a million people are employed here, so you also support your neighbors, “said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Big Phoenix Chamber.
Leanna Haakons, author and founder of Black Hawk Financial, said the pandemic has forced business owners to be creative and help them stay afloat.
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“You know, most small businesses now offer curb picking, so you can call and order or call and ask what equipment they have, and a lot of small businesses are actually getting really creative with some of their suggestions like doing online seminars or family feeding kits, ”Hawkins said. “All your public services, your infrastructure and various things in your own communities are left without business and individual taxes, so if many small businesses start closing in your area, you may notice a real lag in your public services.”
Haakons said there are other ways to support local businesses without spending money. You can leave a good online review, call on social media or tell friends to check them out.