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Small Business Saturday promotes local shopping

The Inter-Mountain photo by Haley Gordon Melodee Price of Elkins, Make It Shine, shops for Christmas presents at the Delmonte Market on Saturday in support of local businesses.

ELKINS — After the hustle and bustle of holiday travels and Black Friday sales, businesses urged members of the community to shop locally for the 10th annual Small Business Saturday.

The event was created in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of small businesses and bring more customers in to shop.

American Express created the event initially, but locally Elkins Main Street and the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce are major organizers within the community.

Roughly two-thirds of each dollar spent at these local businesses is put back into the community to benefit schools, local clubs, the infrastructure and to even create new jobs. In comparison, less than half of each dollar spent in national chains goes back to the community, on average.

“Small Business Saturday is one of the biggest days for most small businesses and it’s always a good idea to get out in your community and spend your money, because a lot of times, that money goes right back into your community,” Stephanie Bender, owner of S&T’s Bees on Third Street in Elkins, said on Saturday. “We tried this year to offer a few different new items, mostly for kids and early teenagers, like 3D pens, water boards and things like that which you can’t find at (big box stores).”

For many of these local businesses, the holiday shopping that takes place in November and December can amount to as much as 30% of their annual sales.

Sue Pifer, owner of the Elkins Sewing Center, agreed how important Small Business Saturday is for local stores.

“(It’s) an exciting day to remind people of the opportunity to shop locally, shop at the small businesses, and American Express does a wonderful job of publicizing it and reminding customers that every dollar that’s spent locally in a small business, 67% of it stays here in town, as opposed to other shopping opportunities,” she said.

“It enables us to say yes when somebody comes in asking for help for the football team or asking for help for the Quilt Guild’s events,” said Pifer. “Sometimes people will use it as an opportunity to explore stores that they might not have been in and find out how friendly and accommodating we are.”

Marge Moses, a resident artist with Artists at Work, also emphasized what Small Business Saturday means to those who create their own products.

“For artists, of course, our overhead is a little different obviously because we sustain the shop, but also most of us plow anything that we make right back into our materials because we just have the urge to make things,” said Moses. “Having a designated day where the community becomes more aware of how important it is to shop locally really does help us. People come in, they browse (…) it doesn’t just get our regular followers in, but it brings a lot of new people into the shop too, so it really does stimulate our business.”