November 26, 2018

Small businesses hope Utah County will shop Small Business Saturday (Daily Herald) »

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The turkey leftovers are in the fridge, and the Black Friday crush of shoppers is over. Local business chambers hope shoppers saved a little bit of their cash for Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide movement to support small, independent businesses in local communities. The day always falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Dan Nordberg, the Small Business Administration’s Region VIII administrator, explained that with surveys showing that 79 percent of Americans make regular online purchases throughout the year, small brick and mortar businesses are looking for new ways to compete and provide a more personalized customer service focus. Small Business Saturday is one of those options.

Despite the competition from online marketplaces, Nordberg said small business are thriving in Utah.

“Utah’s 277,000 small businesses continue to generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services to the state’s population,” he explained in an email.

Like other chambers in Utah County, leaders in the Payson Santaquin Area Chamber of Commerce know the value of local small business owners. Payson and Santaquin was and still is founded on small businesses, asserted Andra Cefalo, chamber executive director.

“They weave the fabric of who we are. We recognize that Small Business Saturday is more than putting all the businesses into a room and letting people ‘shop.’ With this promotion it helps every type of business be able to promote what they have to offer,” Cefalo said. “We want every business to be able to be recognized no matter what they have to offer.”

This year, the Payson chamber created Shopsmallopoly, a marketing tool designed to get local residents into Payson and Santaquin stores. Based on the game, Monopoly, residents earned prizes this week by visiting stores within the same color grouping on their Shopsmallopoly board. Cefalo said the chamber’s former president, Lorene Moore, came up with the promotional idea. Moore clustered local businesses so residents visit different industries and storefronts in both Payson and Santaquin locations.

“This is the first time we have done this promotion,” Cefalo said. “Our goal is for citizens of Payson and Santaquin to first have knowledge of what businesses are in the cities, and second to hopefully shop local for items they may not have realized Payson and Santaquin could offer.”

Loretta and James Moshier started White Feather Rocks in Santaquin about three years ago. Their jewelry and lapidary store is one of those unique businesses benefiting from this year’s Shopsmallopoly promotion.

“We’re having a fun time with that. It’s getting people out and seeing our business,” Loretta Moshier said, explaining that many new customers didn’t even know White Rocks is there on Main Street.

White Feather specializes in rocks and rock-hounding supplies, while also catering to those that enjoy one-of-a-kind silver jewelry. Many of the Moshiers’ pieces at the store have polished stone settings. Other pieces come from local Navajo tribes. The Moshiers can custom cut, polish and set stones in jewelry or other home settings. They also are connected to the local rock-hounding groups.

“Many times people will come in and say, ‘I need a specific stone for this piece of jewelry,” James Moshier said Tuesday in the shop.

“And we find it,” Loretta Moshier added.

The Moshiers do jewelry repairs, offer lapidary supplies and educate local Cub Scout and elementary school groups on rocks. They also feature other local artisans’ handiwork in their store, including woven baskets, dream-weavers, pottery and metaphysical crystals.

“Like we say, it’s the only place you can buy bear traps and bath bombs in the same place,” Loretta Moshier said with a laugh.

Like retailers of all sizes, the holiday shopping season is a big time for the Moshiers. In addition to Small Business Saturday, they also are always open for Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Both days bring in shoppers.

“It’s fun, we get the ranchers who come in and need something affordable for their wife,” Loretta Moshier said.

The Moshiers and other small businesses are smart to take part in both Small Business Saturday and Black Friday, according to a recent Womply report. In 2017, Black Friday was the third top revenue-generating day for Utah’s small independent retailers, bringing in an average of $4,604 in revenue over 37.6 transactions.

Small Business Saturday, because it’s still gaining awareness and traction, came in 118th, with $2,809 in average revenue over 27.1 transactions. While this seems small compared to other shopping days, the Womply report found that Small Business Saturday revenues were 40.3 percent above the national average in Utah.

“In so many ways, small businesses act as the glue that holds our communities together. They fund the local tax base, finance local nonprofits and charitable organizations, and create good jobs that boost the overall economy,” Nordberg said.

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