It is an event that encourages people to “Shop Small” while the event itself keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Small Business Saturday, founded in 2010 by American Express, is a nationwide movement developed to bring attention to the importance of supporting small businesses. This year’s event will be Nov. 25.
In northeastern Wisconsin, the enthusiasm is great. Marketing coordinators for the On Broadway, Downtown Green Bay, Definitely De Pere and Military Avenue business districts have been planning for months with a wide array of events including welcome centers, passports to savings, discounts, gifts with purchase and refreshments. Fox Community Credit Union is an area coordinator.
While the sales are great, Jeff Mirkes, executive director of Downtown Green Bay, says the importance goes beyond that.
“Small Business Saturday is a day to shine a spotlight on the importance of small businesses in our community,” he said. “Small businesses are important to any community because they add to the charm and unique personality of an area. They give many entrepreneurs a launch pad to test their creative business ideas in an environment where their potential has no boundaries.”
Tina Quigley, executive director of Definitely De Pere, agreed that this event will be a celebration of small businesses.
“This year, we’re focusing our promotions on shop small and dine small," Quigley said. "We wanted to celebrate the restaurant sector, as well.”
Depending on the weather, De Pere will have a welcome station either inside or outside of the Lee Building on Broadway.
“We are a designated champion through American Express so we’ll have some swag with fun merchandise, posters, banners and balloons,” Quiqley added.
At all of the local areas, there will be a passport promotion. The Shop Small Business Passport is a way for customers to obtain stamps for a chance to win prizes. Special offers can be found by downloading the Hot Diggity Dough app or by picking up a copy of the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Thanksgiving issue where there will be a special insert.
In the Military Avenue district, participation and excitement are high. Leah Weycker, area director, said a welcome center is planned for 521 S. Military Avenue. Customers will receive a canvas tote bag and there will be free refreshments and a craft and vendor fair to start shoppers off.
Weycker says the event provides excellent exposure to the Military area.
“We are still an affordable area for people to start a new business or house a small-, mid-, or large-size business,” she said. “As we focused the first few years of our BID on the infrastructure and look, we still have a lot of space we can fill. Many of our longtime businesses have invested in remodel and façade improvements indicating the desire to stay here on Military.”
As in the past few years, the On Broadway district is planning to see an influx of shoppers. Chelsea Kocken, marketing and events manager, said that the district will highlight the businesses.
“We are excited for another great turnout for Small Business Saturday in the Broadway District," she said. "Shopping and dining small is what makes a community thrive. This day is an effort to reach more people with the message to shop local all the time. We will be in the district taking pictures and visiting with shoppers."
Even though some of the areas will include other events, Quiqley said that isn’t the main objective.
“This is a big day, a really big day for the small merchants and you can tell because they put a lot of energy and time into making it a really fun shopping day,” she said. “It’s also about thanking customers for their year-round support with special drawings, gifts with purchases, discounts and refreshments. We are going to have participation from almost everyone.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.