By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Downtown Belton was bustling with shoppers this past Saturday as consumers were supporting local businesses by participating in Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a national effort that aims to to bring awareness to the importance of shopping local to give smaller shops some extra help.
Leila Valchar, owner of My Giving Tree, saw an influx of shoppers this year and while she has loyal clientele, some of the first customers she saw were drawn in by small business promotion. She expects the benefits of the promotion to last long past Saturday.
“We are very pleased with the increase in sales this year,” Valchar said. “My overall sales year to date are ahead of last years sales by 27.6 percent! I am seeing more first time customers that have recently moved to the area.”
Valchar believes in the power of shopping locally, which not only helps the local economy and generate jobs, but also helps area businesses to be able to support local charities.
“The spirit of giving was at My Giving Tree this year and we enjoyed giving all of our customers extra special gifts,” Valchar said. “We also had Two very sweet ladies that came in and shopped for toys and topped off the Angel Heart’s Toy Drive box!”
Valchar plans to extend several sales throughout the holiday season.
“We plan to carry over several sales like 10% off on fine art and fine jewelry which can result in saving hundreds of dollars and we will continue to give out special gifts while supplies last,” Valchar said.
Belton Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Randy Pittenger stressed the importance of shopping locally and encourages shoppers to support our local business year round.
“It is important for people to realize how significant supporting locally owned business can be to our community,” Pittenger said. “By keeping our shopping dollars circulating throughout our community, locally owned small businesses promote job creation, keep sales taxes here to support local services, promote growth, and add to the overall quality of life in Belton. We encourage everyone to support our local businesses throughout the year, but especially during the busy holiday shopping season, so Shop Small Saturday was a great way to bring focus to our local businesses and keep them coming throughout the next few weeks and months.”
Shop Small Saturday Passports were also distributed by the chamber at Market Days. These passports provided incentives to shop locally. Businesses such as The Beltonian Theatre, Cochran, Blair & Potts, The Exchange on Central, Vintage Daze, My Giving Tree, and Arushas Coffee gave shoppers the opportunity to win various prizes. Shoppers had to go to all three businesses, make a purchase and get it signed. Once completed, shoppers took the passport to The Beltonian Theatre and submitted it. There were there three winners. They got to pick their prize in the order that they were drawn. First place went to Natalie Juhlin, second went to Linda Neidrick and third went to Billye Westlake.
“This was a wonderful start to the holiday shopping season and a great way to feature some of our locally owned small businesses.” Pittenger said.