Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are only the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, but local shop owners hope people continue shopping in their stores all season long.
“More of the money when you shop local stays within the community,” said Anne Gill, president and CEO of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. “It’s more likely that local businesses will use local CPAs or work with a local company to do their marketing or advertising.”
For Von Hanson’s Meats and Spirits, the better their sales are during the holidays the more they can help the community.
“I do everything I can to help the community and school districts,” said Martha Neese, owner of Von Hanson’s. “In the recession we learned that the dollars stay in your community when you shop locally. That’s huge.”
Von Hanson’s will be having deals on gift cards and bundles of their most popular sausages available for gifts this holiday season.
Wedge and Bottle Cheese shop has loaded their calendar with tasting and pairing events to draw people into the store. They’ve got deals on holiday cheese platters and they’ve bundled some of their favorite items into gift baskets.
“This is our time of the year when we hope to make enough money to get through the slow summer,” said Krista Daily, co-owner of the shop. “Business slows by about half during the summer.”
The Dailys say they often have customers commenting on the unique character of their shop and the personalized service they’re able to give as shop owners, but it’s up to customers to “vote with their dollar” to keep small businesses like Wedge and Bottle open year-round.
This year Kim Kendall, owner of Clothes Minded is preparing for her first holiday season. She said while she’d love to have a shop full of customers on the big shopping weekend, she’s hoping to create deals that will attract a steady stream of shoppers all month.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of webinars on retailing just so I can do things better,” she said. “Most webinars I’ve been listening to are about social media and marketing … We’re trying to plan things deliberately that are focused on gift giving and the holidays.”
Kendall said she’s trying to let potential customers see how easy it is to shop at her small boutique, versus fighting the crowds in a mall or department store.
“I’m trying to be deliberate on my choices I’m putting in the store, thinking gifts for everything whether it’s scarves that are affordable or jewelry,” she said. “It’s hard because I have no idea what the holiday season will bring for my business. I’m not looking to be the next Target with lines out the door or anything but I just really appreciate people shopping in my store. I try to do personal touches I think are important to show people that I value them shopping here.”
Ahwatukee is full of small boutiques and unique shops but even some chains are owned and operated locally. The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has a directory on their site to help locate businesses that are locally operated. That directory can be found at ahwatukeechamber.com. Local First Arizona also has a directory on their website to help locate shops that are locally owned. For more information on Local First visit www.localfirstaz.com.