Friday, November 29, 2013

12 Ways to Honor Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow, November 30, is Small Business Saturday (SBS).  While we have eyes half open from getting up at the crack of dawn to find our amazing deals from big box and chain retailers, the Mom and Pop stores on the corners and in the strip malls are just as eager for your business. It's important not only for the economy of your city or town, but it can also make or break the holiday success of a local business owner who employs a few hard-working staff members. 

Here are 12 things you can do to support SBS.  These are places you might have been planning to visit anyway, so get your checklist ready!
  1. DONUT SHOP.  Start your morning early with a visit to your nearest donut shop. Take a break from making breakfast today since you'll need time to visit local businesses.  Surprise your family with some wonderful fritters or maple bars, and don't forget the coffee!
  2. DRY CLEANERS. Time to gather your clothing and drop them off tomorrow, just in time for the holidays. If you've already taken your clothes in this week, you might have a bedspread, blanket or curtains that need a refresher for visiting holiday guests.
  3. PACKAGE SHIPPER.  The postal and packaging service stores such as UPS, FedEx, Postal Annex and others are franchises run by individuals.  Take one of your Black Friday purchases that needs to be shipped and allow them to package it for you.  If it's a small to medium item you are looking at spending about $10-$20 for packaging plus the cost of postage.

  4. CAR WASH.  Time to give your vehicle a holiday bath whether it needs it or not.  If it's raining or snowing in your part of the world, stop in (if they're open) and buy a car air freshener.
  5. AUTO PARTS STORE.  Even if you have your car serviced at a dealership or a preferred auto mechanic, there are many items available at an auto parts store.  You may consider buying a gallon of wiper fluid to have on hand, or check your wiper blades to see if they need replacing.  There are also some wonderful gifts to look at here including floor mats, travel mugs, visor storage and more.
  6. NAIL SALON.  Did the first five stops wear you out?  It's time for you now (and yes, this includes you guys).  Take a one hour break and have a manicure and/or pedicure to relax and also look your best.  If you are not one to have your nails "resurfaced and polished", then consider an eyebrow wax, or buy the woman on your Christmas list a bottle of nail polish.
  7.  LOCAL DINER.  After your nails are sparkling enjoy a nice salad or sandwich at a local diner.  It's a time to break bread with a friend or your family and gear up for a few more Small Business stops.
  8. LIQUOR/WINE STORE.  Stock up on your favorite wine and spirits for entertaining this holiday season.  Wine for the Christmas table, rum for the punch and champagne for the New Year celebration. Not a drinker?  No worries -- perhaps a hostess gift of wine for an upcoming dinner, or a set of wine glasses or beer mugs as a gift.

  9. ANTIQUE STORE or MALL.  Here's the fun part (in my humble opinion)!  Spend an hour or two at the historical district of your city, or perhaps you have a large antique mall with many small businesses who offer their antique and vintage items.  This can be a fun place to find a unique holiday gift for the person who already has everything.  They may not have a Popeye cookie jar, piece of vintage art, or a first edition classic novel.  I don't know too many people who can't find something that reminds them of their years growing up, no matter how small.  Items will be priced to sell for the holidays.
  10. CLOTHING BOUTIQUE.  The word "boutique" is scary to those on a budget because one typically thinks that these stores are overpriced.  While that may be true on Rodeo Drive, give your local clothing boutique a chance.  There is a sale rack in every store and even a small purchase of an accessory such as a scarf, wallet or earrings will help the retailer.  You may just uncover a store that you'll want to frequent on a regular basis as their collection changes.
  11. LOCAL GYM, YOGA or FITNESS CLASS.  If you don't already have a gym membership, now might be the time.  Many are offering two-for-one specials or discounted membership fees this time of year. Find one near your home that offers good hours, good equipment and fun classes.  If you already have a membership, take the time to check out upcoming classes and join one.  There are many small businesses that specialize in yoga, martial arts or strength training.  Look and feel your best this holiday season by investing in yourself.
  12. PIZZERIA.  At the end of your busy SBS day, grab a pizza from a local pizza restaurant to bring home to the family.  After all, you've had a busy day doing your part to help your local businesses thrive.
These are only a few suggestions that will make for a fun day.  Don't forget other wonderful local businesses such as grocers, toy shops, comic book stores, craft shops, hardware stores (not big box), greeting card and collectible stores, garage mechanics and too many more to list.

Let us know how you spent your Small Business Saturday.