Retail sales get boost from Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday
Published 6:06 pm Thursday, December 15, 2011
Local retailers got a boost from the grassroots Shop Local movements, branded as Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday, the weekend shopping days following Thanksgiving.
The name Plaid Friday celebrates the local creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is publicized as the alternative to the big box store “Black Friday” and designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays. Plaid Friday is designed to bring back the small-town nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a community-based holiday activity.
Likewise, the second annual Small Business Saturday, promoted by financial giant American Express, is a day dedicated to supporting locally owned small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Locally, Polk County retailers said extended hours, specials, community advertising and social media combined to make for an above average shopping weekend for them.
Kim Clement of Tryon Mountain Hardware said she saw a marked increase in weekend business.
“Our business was good, but we did advertise discounts,” Clement said.
Tryon downtown retailer The Book Shelf also reported an increase in business. Salesperson Judy Lanier said she noticed many out-of-town shoppers. The weekend prior to Thanksgiving was “spectacular,” according to Lanier, mainly because they had promoted an in-store event.
Another downtown merchant, Mary Prioleau, owner of apparel retailer Tryon House, said she felt sales were good but somewhat lower than the same weekend last year. She is uncertain as to whether the national small business promotion had a tangible effect on her business.
“We’ve found that if you offer quality merchandise at a reasonable price, shoppers will be loyal to you. We have a very loyal customer base,” she said.
The arts also had a good business weekend.
Kim Nelson of Skyuka Fine Art commented that their gallery saw “a nice flow of people” and a good number of shoppers from out of town. Also on “gallery row,” Richard Baker of Richard Baker Studio said he felt the bump in increased business, calling it “a very good two days of business.”
Away from the downtown merchant center, Little Mountain Farm Supply on Hwy. 9 in Green Creek also reported a noticeable increase in business.
According to owner Laura Backus, “The previous 14 years the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been dead. This year, we did a lot of promotional posts on Facebook, using such catchphrases as ‘Keep the Cheer Here.’”
Backus also said, “From a retailer’s standpoint, I wish we could get across to our local customers that small businesses can’t carry every item, but we can order anything you need. We are here to serve our customers.”
Nationally, the National Retail Federation said U.S. retail traffic increased from a year ago during the Thanksgiving weekend, but shoppers, on average, spent less.
The trade group said 195 million consumers went shopping, up from last year’s 172 million during the Thanksgiving weekend a year ago. Shoppers spent on average $343.31 per person, down from $372,57 last year, according to the New York Times. In total, about $41.2 billion was spent over the holiday, about the same as a year ago.
– article submitted
by Libbie Johnson