On Tuesday, Congressman Welch, Mayor Weinberger, and officials in St. Albans and Burlington toured local shops to promote Small Business Saturday. Many people have heard of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop locally the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Ten years ago, American Express started Small Business Saturday as an annual initiative to get more people supporting their local businesses.
“We can’t have vibrant communities without vibrant local retail,” said Congressman Welch
Sharon Holcomb owns bayberry cottage in St. Albans. It is a small décor store that she started after noticing there wasn’t any cottage type of décor in St. Albans. She said she looks forward to Small Business Saturday every year.
“Small Business Saturday is big, it’s really a big thing. I always have some kind of a special, most stores do, but we all look forward to Small Business Saturday,” said Holcomb.
In St. Albans, Small Business Saturday is one of the things that kicks off the holiday shopping season. Similarly, in Burlington many locally owned stores are excited for Small Business Saturday.
However, the increase in technology has made it harder for small businesses to stay afloat. Mayor Weinberger hopes Small Business Saturday will remind folks that it’s important to shop locally.
“Over 70% of the shops on the full Church Street are locally owned shops and they face more challenges than ever in the retail environment that we’re in right now with the rise of the internet,” said Mayor Weinberger.
Despite the increase in technology, Holcomb said it’s thanks to her community that she’s kept her business going for so long
“I keep it going though I really do. I have a great downtown shopping cliental that like stop come in for the immediate gift. They like to come in they like to touch and feel the quality of the product they’re buying,” said Holcomb.
There are around 77,600 small businesses in Vermont with about 160,000 workers. In total small businesses make up around 61% of the state’s workforce.
“We want to remind people to shop local and it makes a difference to those merchants but it makes a difference to building that strong community we want in Vermont,” said congressman Welch.