By Elizabeth Varville, The Belton Journal
In the midst of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, another growing event is Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday occurs every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. First observed Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday has grown in popularity dramatically through social media. The event began as a radio and television advertising campaign produced by the American Express Corporation. In 2012, American Express helped small businesses promote their business with free personalized ads which gave the event even more exposure.
Here in Belton, small businesses are well represented as they again turned to social media to promote their own business this past Saturday. Texas’ oldest department store, Cochran, Blair, and Potts on Central Avenue in Belton, offered loyal customers free gift wrapping for Small Business Saturday.
“Small Business Saturday was a huge success. Our sales were up due to the combination of the loyal customers and the push for small businesses,” said Manager Robert Potts. First time customer, Sandy Allie of Temple said she saw that it was Small Business Saturday through a Chamber email notification.
When asked what she finds different with shopping at small businesses she replied, “Customer service, totally customer service. She (the salesperson) has spent more time with me than anything. She has taken the time to find coordinating pieces and helping me with how I can get them ready for Christmas. Customers just don’t receive that kind of customer service shopping at big retail stores.
Kayla Lane, Manager of Lone Grove Trading Co. and Flamingo Grove located in Grothway Square in Belton said, “It was a better Saturday than usual even though we generally stay busy on Saturdays. I believe our customers came in just to say hey its Small Business Saturday and how they enjoy shopping local with us. Even yesterday (Black Friday), I had people tell me they rather shop local even on Black Friday.” Again loyal customers were rewarded with 20 percent off when customers checked-in through Facebook. “When I shop for out-of-state family, I can get things that are more specific or a style from here that I can send. It’s not something they can just buy for themselves,” said Flamingo Grove customer Rachel Chee-Chong.
Snickelbritches, Pop-Abilities, and Yummy Rummy, all small businesses located in Belton, utilized social media to promote Small Business Saturday with a variety of different discounts to also thank their loyal customers for shopping small businesses.