From Black Friday forward: shop at home

The Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce not only is supporting businesses appealing to shoppers on Black Friday, but the chamber is promoting the American Express Shop Small initiative on Saturday, Nov. 26.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Some shoppers may lay down their Thanksgiving Forks and hit the hay for distant Black Friday deals, but out in the Hill Country the finds may be right out our back doors.

Up and down US 281 from furniture at Aladdin Home Store up north to fine jewelry and fashions down south at Salem's and in between at Blair's Western Wear, hometown shopping offers variety and special savings.

“If we don't have it, you don't need it,” said Blair. “We've added lotions and perfumes besides all the small gifts for a Western home. Everybody knows about the upscale western wear, but now we even have Birkenstock sandals.”

For 70 years, Salem's Jewelry has kept Burnet County shoppers at home for fine jewelry, but when they added fashion in 1981 they broadened the field. They have a list of merchandize especially for Black Friday, but they offer something more, doing business with people they know.

“Here at Salem's we specialize not just in fine jewelry but in finding you the right gift,” said Brantley Salem.

Downtown

The Historic Main Street Business Association recently reorganized and they are pulling out all the stops.

“Black Friday is just the start of what we are calling Christmas on Main,” said Debbie Brown, owner of It's All Goode and a member of the association. “Beginning this week, downtown Main Street businesses will be open until 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until the weekend before Christmas.

“Every business is doing its own thing, adult beverages, special incentives, new merchandise. And, we are providing a hayride from the Walkway of Lights to downtown from around 6:30 or 6:45 until 8:45 p.m.”

She said families can park where they choose and enjoy the Walkway before riding back to explore Main Street or divide forces and meet back in one location.

Small Business Saturday

“The Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce not only is supporting businesses appealing to shoppers on Black Friday, but the chamber is promoting the American Express Shop Small initiative on Saturday, Nov. 26,” said Patti Zinsmeyer, executive director of the chamber. “We have shopping bags and fliers to go along with the company's national advertising campaign.”

Beyond the basic message of supporting small business, American Express offers the incentive of double rewards to the primary holders of some 50 consumer and small business cards that register online (www.amex.co/shopsmalloffer) and shop at small businesses through Dec. 31.

“They want people to remember that small business that started America and we need to keep them strong,” said Brown.

In 2010, American Express started Small Business Saturday as a way to encourage people to shop at local stores and those owned by people within communities. In 2011, the U.S. Senate officially recognized the Saturday after Thanksgiving as “Small Business Saturday.”

“Last year, Small Business Saturday inspired 95 million people to Shop Small,” said Howard Grosfield, EVP, U.S. Consumer Marketing Services for American Express.

Economic sense

Shopping small makes economic sense for the hometown community you live in as well.

“Many local retailers rely on sales from Thanksgiving through Christmas to get them through the rest of the winter months and into the new year,” said Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation (MFEDC). “With the growth of our regional trade area population and special events like the Walkway of Lights, we expect a lot of people to be in town from mid-November through New Year’s Day.”

“There are some plain and simple reasons to shop at home,” said Midge Dockery, MFEDC business development coordinator, who could name more than fighting traffic and spending on gas, lodging and food on an out-of-town venture:

  • Small business owners not only work in our community, they live here too. They are your neighbors.

  • Small businesses provide employment opportunities for your neighbors, your friends and your family members.

  • Service is personalized. When you shop local, your transaction is typically handled by the store owner.

  • The combined presence of a town’s local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.

  • Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

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