By Jennifer Sorentrue - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
As shoppers pack big-box stores this weekend looking for Black Friday discounts and doorbuster deals, small business owners in one West Palm Beach neighborhood are hoping to snag their slice of the Thanksgiving shopping rush by offering their own promotions and flash sales.
This year, business owners in the city’s Northwood Village neighborhood are hoping to turn Small Business Saturday — the day set aside for supporting small business owners — into a weekend-long “bargain extravaganza” with a variety of coupons, raffles, door prizes and other discounts.
The village’s “Shop Small Weekend” starts on Black Friday and continues through Sunday. Promotions will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., officials said.
“We offer unique things at great prices that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Lourdes Sanchez, the owner of Om Yoga & Wellness Studios and the executive director of Northwood Village Main Street. “There is a love that goes in to all of these businesses. We will help you put that love in a box.”
The push to extend Small Business Saturday beyond a single day follows a record-breaking year for the national campaign. More than 112 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday last year, with total spending reaching an estimated $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants.
American Express, in 2010, began encouraging shoppers to visit small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Eight years later, the campaign has evolved into a nationally-recognized shopping holiday sandwiched in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
More than 60 percent of consumers say they are aware of Small Business Saturday, and of those, 82 percent plan to shop at a small, independently-owned retailer or dine at a small, independently-owned restaurant as part of the campaign, according to a study released this month by American Express.
“Small Business Saturday provides people an opportunity to discover and celebrate the variety of small businesses that make their communities thrive,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising & Brand Management at American Express. “Beyond visiting their favorite go-to spots, shoppers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to visit places they have not been to before and would not have otherwise tried.”
In Florida last year, small business owners saw revenue on Small Business Saturday jump by 141 percent over average daily revenue, according to a study released by San Francisco-based Womply, which provides data and software to small businesses across the country.
Despite the rise, Womply found that Black Friday still reigned supreme — even at Florida’s mom and pop shops and restaurants.
Womply analyzed transactions from nearly 5,600 local retailers in Florida during the 2016 holiday season. The data found Black Friday revenues at those small businesses was up 158 percent over normal daily revenue during the shopping season.
“We fully expected if we were looking at small business retailers, that we would probably see a bigger lift on Small Business Saturday,” said Brad Plothow, Womply’s head of communications. “We were pretty surprised to see that Black Friday was the biggest sales day.”
Northwood’s Sanchez said some customers simply don’t want to fight the crowds or wait in line. Small businesses, like those in the village’s six block shopping district, provide a friendly reprieve, she added.
“It brings you back to what the holidays are supposed to be,” she said. “It is supposed to be fun and love.”
Roughly 90 percent of Northwood’s shops and restaurants are expected to participate in the small business sales push, Sanchez said.
The village’s monthly Art Night Out, set for Friday, is also expected to help drive traffic to the area.
In Delray Beach, officials also plan to offer gifts to those who shop small on Saturday. Customers who spend $50 at a downtown small business can receive complementary gifts and shop small giveaways, while supplies last, according to the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority.
A Shop Small hospitality booth will be set up in Pineapple Grove by the Banyan tree in front of Addison Gallery (206 Ne 2nd Street, Delray Beach) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Hands Office & Art Supply (325 E. Atlantic Ave.).
There are more than 350 boutiques, salons, spas, galleries and restaurants in downtown Delray Beach, and roughly 93 percent of them are small businesses, the authority said.