Downtown prepares for Small Business Saturday
by Matt Shinall
Nov 18, 2012 | 1878 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After Thanksgiving meals are eaten and the tables are cleared, throngs of eager shoppers will descend upon mass retailers nationwide — but Saturday morning, after the tryptophan has worn off, local merchants will welcome holiday shoppers without threat of stampeding crowds or angry mobs.

In a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday urges shoppers to make special consideration for locally owned and operated shops during the hectic holiday season.

Credit card company American Express spearheaded the endeavor in 2010 asking its customers to shop at small business during a week that is typically devoted to big-box retailers. Since the new shopping holiday’s inception, the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority has used it as a tool to promote shopping locally.

“It was started by American Express a couple of years ago, just to acknowledge all the small businesses that are the backbone, certainly of our community, but all the communities across America,” said DDA Manager Tara Currier. “So many people get into the shopping frenzy right after Thanksgiving and we’ve got Black Friday and several years ago the implementation of Cyber Monday, so Small Business Saturday is just an opportunity to get the word out there about small businesses and encouraging people to shop local when they do their holiday shopping.”

For Currier, the obvious benefits are seen in increased awareness and traffic to downtown businesses, but shoppers also may benefit through direct and indirect means, including the reciprocation of tax dollars through local schools, roads and police and fire protection.

“First and foremost, you­­ can just get such unique items from our local merchants,” Currier said. “There are so many great unique gift items in downtown Cartersville from baked goods at Agan’s and unique collegiate items to the home decor offered at c.a.n.o.p.y. You really can get things that you’re not going to get at the larger retailers.

“But beyond that, Cartersville’s overall economy depends on small businesses. We’ve got hundreds of them throughout the county who not only employ people, but they’re paying taxes and utilities, which goes back into our local economy. And all those tax dollars will stay in Cartersville and Bartow County.”

Businesses throughout the historic downtown district will be open Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving for holiday shopping, including a new venture by Cartersville resident Stacey Gaglione. Her shop, Asbury Station, is in the final stages of preparing to open downtown in time for the holiday-shopping season.

Asbury Station is set to open on Black Friday under the bridge at 24 E. Church St. Offering new and consignment pieces, Asbury Station will feature gift items, work from local artists, home decor and furniture.

“I love the downtown area. I love the history. The way that John Lewis has preserved the buildings — I just love everything about it and I’ve always been a regular shopper of the downtown area,” Gaglione said. “To shop local helps our community. As a small business owner, I’m just like anyone else, we run into each other in the grocery store, we go to church together, we’re neighbors and by shopping locally we’re helping the economy.”

For more information, call the DDA at 770-607-3480 or visit American Express’ Small Business Saturday webpage at www.shopsmall.com.