With Thanksgiving around the corner, Boulder County residents could be preparing their shopping lists and looking at Black Friday deals. But, many local businesses throughout the county are asking residents to stay local and shop small.
Shop Small Saturday, or Small Business Saturday, is Nov. 30 and many stores around the county are participating by having special deals and discounts to lure shoppers in.
In most of the communities, many stores are offering 10% to 20% off products or services, having raffles, offering drinks with purchases at restaurants and more.
Amy O’Neill, marketing and events coordinator with the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, says the day is all about skipping the big box stores and supporting locals.
“Down here, Shop Small started competing with the Black Friday and big box stores,” O’Neill said. “When you shop local, your tax dollars stay within the city.”
Vicki Trumbo, executive director of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce agreed and said the day could also be a reminder for residents.
“It’s sad people need to be reminded to spend their money local,” Trumbo said. “It’s why Shop Small Saturday really came about. It’s an important reminder that the businesses in your community generate what pays for the city to keep running. Cities in Colorado live and die on sales tax.”
What ‘Pearl Street is all about’
In Boulder County, many of the communities have their own downtown area which offers shoppers a variety of options. Whether it’s a clothing store, a restaurant, workout studios and more, shoppers can tend to find what they’re seeking in their own backyard.
Two Hands Paperie has been on Pearl Street in Boulder for more than 20 years offering customers an array of fountain pens, greeting cards and other items. Every year they look forward to Shop Small.
“It’s all about what the name suggests, promoting small shops,” Manager Liz Grenier said. “That’s what Pearl Street is all about.”
Grenier said she loves days like Shop Small because it reminds the locals of what Boulder has to offer, and lets people new to the area learn about the stores.
“The west end of Pearl Street has a lot of shops for the community,” Grenier said.
Clif Harald, executive director of the Boulder Economic Council, says that 78% of Boulder businesses have less than 10 employees.
In Longmont’s downtown, a long-time resident may not have been around for as long, but Snow White at Snow Apparel looks forward to the holiday season.
“For us, it means the community we’re investing in, our hometown, gets to discover what it has in its own backyard,” White said.
White packs her shop with organic, fair trade women’s clothing and accessories. This holiday weekend White said she will be providing different discounts throughout the day.
“I’m super excited,” White said. “We’re going to have secret sales every hour. We’ll have different ones throughout the day.”
Longmont will also be having ice carving demonstrations, street performers and entertainers, roaming carolers and giveaways to start the holiday season.
The city also has a new “Pop up Longmont,” a three-month pop-up retail store called Sock inside the Longmont Downtown Development Authority’s office on Main Street.
There will also be a stress-less holiday shopping event at Colorado Aromatics Store. Shoppers can join Cindy Jones and Sharon Glassman for a free stress-busting holiday event from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 340 Lashley St., in Longmont.
Surviving with locals’ support
On the other end of the county, Louisville business owner Marcy Miller of Organic Sandwich Company said residents stopping in local restaurants and eateries is important.
“We’re going to survive with the support of the locals,” Miller said. “(Shop Small) is a great reminder that we have a lot of great locally owned businesses here.”
Miller’s eateries are both in Louisville and Boulder. She said they both provide residents great shopping options.
“These are areas that people aren’t going to go to for just one store,” Miller said. “And if they are, they will probably walk by and see what other stores are providing. There’s so many great stores in Boulder and Louisville and locals forget how great it is to come downtown.”
Miller said Organic Sandwich will be providing deals to its customers on Shop Small Saturday for those interested in grabbing a bite to eat in between shops.
“I like to get to know my customers on a first-name basis,” Hopkins said. “That’s not something that may happen at the bigger stores.”
And as long-time owners of the store, he said they’ve been encouraging everyone to shop local for many years.
Inside the store, shoppers can find collectibles of all sorts, furniture, home decor and vintage clothing for anyone on their shopping list.
“We sell over 7,000 items a month,” Hopkins said. “We have more than 150 vendors, which most of them rent floor space and offer all types of products.”
The Lafayette business has been in the city for more than 25 years, and every year sees the holiday shopping weekend grow.