by Chris McGlynn
Every year, the frenzy of Black Friday begins after the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away and the turkey nap is complete. However, the recent push to support small businesses, such as those in Westfield, has led to the creation of Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as a campaign by American Express, eventually becoming a nationwide follow-up to Black Friday. According to americanexpress.com, Congress first recognized Small Business Saturday in 2011. In 2012, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent by holiday shoppers at small businesses according to americanexpress.com.
The reason behind the creation of the new shopping spree, taking place this year on Nov. 30, was to bring holiday shoppers out of retail stores to spend money at a local level. In Westfield, with dozens of small businesses, this movement presents the potential to benefit the community.
According to the manager of Bittersweet Designs, Ms. Alicia Anderson: “We definitely see an increase in shoppers every year on Small Business Saturday. We encourage everyone to come in and shop at local stores. We have a great little town.”
Anderson added that Bittersweet Designs will have a gift card reward for all shoppers who spend a required amount of money at the store on Small Business Saturday.
The event is continuing to expand within Westfield. For example, this is the first year that Jay’s Cycles will be participating. According to Jay’s Cycles staff member Andrew Fekete, the store will be instituting a price-match guarantee this year for prices from authorized bicycle distributors to get involved with all of the holiday hype.
While the businesses are the ones who most directly benefit from Small Business Saturday, many Westfield locals enjoy the opportunity to “shop small.” English Teacher Ms. Marlena Cortese, who grew up in Westfield, said: “I think it's smart to help support local businesses because it puts money back into the community. Supporting small businesses helps preserve downtown centers like the one here in Westfield. Not all towns have such a vibrant downtown area.”
Junior Katelyn Zelko said that she is going to shop on Small Business Saturday. She said: “I think some stores give great deals, and I love shopping. I think it brings our community closer because we are all shopping to give back money to the community.”