Shopping Small: The last Saturday in November is all about small businesses
KINGMAN – This less pushy baby sister of Black Friday comes right after the Thanksgiving family madness, when, filled with turkey, you don’t want to move too far.
What you need is a gentle stroll downtown where local businesses are changing the heart of Kingman into a holiday wonderland.
Shop Small Saturday will take place all day nationwide on Nov. 30, and businesses along Beale Street have participated for a few years now, with Kingman Main Street, Small Business Development Center, and Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce all promoting this shopping holiday.
“I first heard about it from the former owner of The Farmhouse,” said Sarah Ferry of West of Third, referring to another iconic downtown shop at 317 E. Beale St. “I just opened my own shop and she asked me: ‘Are you doing Small Shop?’ She had to explain what it was.”
Ferry explains any vendor can register online and will receive a kit to participate containing shop small bags, balloons and signage. There are two “neighborhood champions” that have the kits available – downtown businesses should contact Kingman Main Street while uptown business are represented by SMDC.
West of Third is planning on skipping business on Black Friday altogether and unveiling their holiday colors the following day. It is not easy to list all the items the store has: from gifts and clothes and organic skincare products to flowers, locally grown produce and baked goods. The latest addition are Alex Lemelin’s “little hottie wood stoves” created at his Lemelin Fabrication Co.
“We will have holiday decorations, hot apple cider and cookies,” Ferry said. “Local artisans will come with their products”
In the meantime on the other side of Beale, the ladies at the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, Becky Fawson and Valen Cassidy, just finished their own registration of businesses. They plan to kick off at 10 a.m. at 405 E. Beale St. Their customers will receive a drawing ticket for every $10 spent at a registered business. There will be snacks, drinks and $10 photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Clause courtesy of Imagine Photography.
“We are here to support local businesses,” said Fawson. “Our event will last until 2 p.m. but I know shops will be open all day.”
According to small business financing company Guidant Financial’s annual State of Small Business survey conducted with LendingClub, small business owner confidence has increased over the year and interesting new challenges have cropped up.
With 78% of small businesses reporting profits, current business owners rated their level of happiness as an average of eight on a scale of one to 10 (10 being the happiest). At the same time, small business owners reported a significant 15% increase in challenges with recruiting and retaining employees.
Small businesses continued to be ruled by baby boomers. The past couple of years brought a notable increase in health, beauty and fitness businesses such as wellness spas, salons and gyms.
“Last year Shop Small Saturday was my best day when it comes to sales,” Ferry said. “It’s a great way to support local businesses. People make a day out of it, buy one item in each store. And when they need a break, they can pop in to the brewery.”
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