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Every year, retailers across the country gear up for the holiday shopping season. Traditionally, efforts to entice shoppers with ‘Black Friday’ sales events are one way to draw in customers. This year’s holiday shopping season is especially important to retailers, who are trying to come back from a weak economy, including small stores in downtown Springfield. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann found out how independent businesses are trying to win shoppers this holiday season.
Brad Jones is the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. He says that small businesses do much more than simply sell goods; they create jobs, and support many community charities and activities. While large big-box stores also get involved locally, Jones says it’s the small businesses that often are part of a community’s identity.
“Those small business in your community, some of which may be second and third generation businesses…have really been there for your community. Sort have ‘knit’ the economic fiber, if you will. And it’s a chance to put them forward and say ‘Hey, thank you. What can we do? We want to come and do a little Christmas shopping with our small business friends in our community,’” says Jones.
Black Friday is only one strategy Springfield businesses use to reach out to shoppers. Nicholas Cloyd is marketing director for Staxx clothing store downtown, and says small businesses have to use diverse marketing strategies. Online marketing through email and social media sites are a few ways Cloyd says Staxx has been successful. He adds that although Black Friday is usually Staxx’s biggest shopping day of the year, not all small businesses benefit.
“Even though ‘Black Friday’ is a large event for us, it’s not for a lot of other retailers downtown. We wanted to provide another opportunity for the downtown retailers to have some retail exposure, so to speak. So we decided to do the ‘Shop Downtown First.’ And a lot of the retailers that have jumped on board have decided to offer incentives above and beyond giving back to the charities,” says Cloyd.
And that Shop Downtown First event will happen one week after Black Friday. Cloyd says the event includes a dozen local businesses, and will take place in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk on December 2nd. He adds that participating retailers will donate a portion of sales to local charities like the YMCA, Discovery Center, and the Springfield Regional Arts Council, as one way to keep dollars local.
“Shop Downtown First we have really been pushing as a buy local—stay local [event]. Because for every dollar spent locally, seventy-three cents of that stays local. So, if you go to some of the ‘big box stores’ you might be lucky if twenty cents of that stays local. You know, when you spend money downtown with these local businesses you’re guaranteed that seventy three cents of that is staying here,” Cloyd says.
Cloyd says that in addition to great buys, shoppers will be able to enjoy entertainment, discounts at area restaurants, and a number of other incentives. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.