This year marks the 10th year of Small Business Saturday, a national effort encouraging consumers to support local small businesses in the midst of the holiday retail rush. Customers reported spending more than $100 million over the event’s first nine years, according to American Express, the event’s national sponsor, and small Missouri retailers are banking on big sales this year.
As small businesses look to distinguish themselves from big-box retailers and ecommerce competition during the holidays, customer experience is key, according to Nickie Davis, executive director of The District, downtown Columbia’s community improvement district.
“Our businesses have definitely stepped up their game to keep up with the online pace, but at the same time it’s an ambiance thing,” Davis said. “People want to be down here, and they want to be part of something. So I think that gives (local retailers) an upper hand as well.”
Small Business Saturday plays on the appeal of “shopping local,” and Davis said that’s evident in the customers that come out for the event.
“They are there to shop local,” she said. “They are there to support their businesses, because they want to keep these amazing businesses open, and they also want to make sure that their dollars are staying in our community.”
Hear more about Small Business Saturday in Davis’ recent interview on the Speaking Startup podcast: