Tag Archives: Small Business Saturday

“Thank you for your business”

What a week of contrasts — thankfulness and greed. Just hours after we finished our Thanksgiving meal with family and gave thanks to all we have in our lives, people lined up to rush into stores to grab a good deal. Some people fought to get what they wanted. Thanksgiving has become Black Friday or Gray Thursday. Whatever you call it, corporate greed and survival is the focus on a day we’re supposed to be reflective and thankful for what we have.

Black Friday camper.

You can’t just blame the stores. Shoppers are so desperate to gobble up the doors they line up a week early.

This holiday, the stakes are higher than ever. Stores are desperate to pad their bottom line, as Internet businesses are making it tough for retail stores to keep their doors open. I think some retailers will disappear before the next shopping season if their sales are not good. Stores have all sorts of gimmicks and promotions to get you to shop like Thanksgiving day doorbusters and price matching policies even for Internet stores and prices. That’s an unprecedented move as retailers are desperate to keep their doors open.

Gordon Square. Cleveland, OH

It’s not just corporations looking to keep their doors open, but small businesses as well. The mom and pop stores of the world. The ones opened by your neighbors who live in your community and support it when their business thrives. Saturday, the corporate credit card company American Express, is promoting “Small Business Saturday.”

It’s a way to get you to support your local business. The ones that are the framework of your community. For every $25 you spend at a participating AmEx small business, you’ll get a $25 statement credit. It’s a free $25. A nice incentive to support your local stores.

I stopped in a few the other day, and I must say it opened my eyes to the unique gifts and good people behind these storefronts that I buzz by every day. You really can find gifts you won’t find anywhere else. You may pay a bit more for your gift, but you get so much more.

Service anyone? When was the  last time you got service at a store? It’s a rarity at a big business. Free gift wrap and packaging? It’s just part of the standard package at a small business. Check one out this weekend. I think you’ll be surprised.

I got a surprise from a local business this week — unrelated to holiday shopping. I needed three tire valve caps to keep the air pressure in our tires. I went to Lakefront Automotive Parts in Cleveland to pick up the caps. I like walking in there because the staff is friendly and always willing to help you find what you need. You’re in and out in less than five minutes and get service with a smile.

The salesman told me they didn’t sell just three caps. They came in a packet of 100. I was willing to accept it and go someplace else. Then, he grabbed the package off the shelf. He opened it up and handed me three. He said, “We’ll get you next time. Have a great day.”

I offered to pay and he refused. The cost  would have been less than a $1, but it didn’t matter. It was the gesture that will remain in my mind. He went out of his way to make sure I was a satisfied customer. It’s something you hardly get anymore. Such a small thing, but it left a big impression on me. It’s the small things in life that leave the most lasting impressions.

Don’t forget to Shop a store this holiday that truly is thankful for your business.

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Saving on holiday shopping depends on the “day” you shop

Black Friday shoppers rush into Best Buy 2010

The holiday shopping season has arrived, and retailers will have all sorts of gimmicks to get you to save. Here’s a look at some of the important dates this holiday that will help procrastinators and early birds save money.

November 23 – Black Friday
If you have no interest in the crowds, there are many other days to save.

November 24 – Small business Saturday
Support your local business and save.

November 26 – Cyber Monday
During the entire holiday season last year, online sales were up 17%. This year, the numbers are expected to jump 20% over last year. On the Monday after Black Friday, shoppers spend their work day shopping for deals online.

December 10 – Green Monday
Ebay came up with this term in 2007 to describe their best sales day in December. It’s the second Monday of the month, and now billions are spent on this online shopping holiday.

December 14 – Post office deadline
Deadline for parcel post mail deliveries to arrive on time for the holidays.

December 15 – Busy shopping day
ShopperTrak calls this the third busiest shopping day of the season aside from Black Friday and Super Saturday which is the last Saturday before the Christmas holiday.

December 17 – Free Shipping Day
Thousands of retailers join together and offer free shipping to shoppers. Some have restrictions on your order total to qualify for the promotion, but may don’t.

December 20 – First class  mail deadline

December 22 – Super Saturday
Lots of procrastinators will fill the malls and take advantage of last minute deals.

December 23 – e-Gift card Day
Once again procrastinators are in luck. This day allows you to get a last minute gift card online and you can send it electronically to your loved one.