By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
On Saturday, Nov. 27, American Express celebrates its 11th anniversary of rolling out the “Small Business Saturday” campaign.
Started in 2010, this targeted shopping day falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and was designed to entice people to shop small and at their local stores to counter the online shopping frenzy.
With COVID and the convenience of online shopping, it is more important than ever to support our local retail businesses. It is also important for retail business to jump on the bandwagon and promote themselves during this traditional shopping season.
As a result of the ease of online shopping and many people wanting that contactless shopping interaction, it is important that retailers and shoppers alike look at drawing people out to support local. American Express has a plethora of tools at the business’ fingertips that they can take advantage of for free, including a map locator, marketing materials, guides and more. You can log onto www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/ to register your business and get the marketing materials.
Even if you don’t participate in the actual American Express program, there are a lot of things your business can do to support the shop small/shop local concept. Just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday implies deals and discounts — so offer some. Get people into your store. And although we want people to visit your stores, they can also visit you online as they would any “big box” store.
Shopping local should not be relegated to just Small Business Saturday. This is the shopping season, and businesses should take advantage of it all throughout the holidays. Look at your marketing strategy now. Many businesses have already started decorating their store windows for the holidays. If you haven’t, get on it. You also might want to include in your decorations some exciting lighting display and enter the town’s and SUN’s Holiday Lighting Contest. Kill two birds with one stone.
Have you thought about an open house, joining forces with neighboring businesses to host a “Small Business Saturday Block Party” or even promote extended hours? Finally, don’t forget the traditional marketing avenues such as print and radio advertising. These are two very compelling advertising sources that the “locals” go to in order to find out what is happening and what deals and discounts are available.
Time is flying by. Don’t wait too long to get your plan in action for the holiday kick-off just weeks away. It is estimated that approximately 67 cents for every dollar spent locally stays in the community. We want this money to be spent and to circulate in Pagosa Springs.
Holiday Lighting Contest
You still have one more week to sign up for the Holiday Lighting Contest where you will have the chance to win $1,000, $500 or $250 in cash or the equivalent in advertising dollars from The Pagosa Springs SUN. Applications are due Nov. 17 and you can get the form at www.pagosachamber.com under the Community and Chamber News section. Spruce up your business or residential neighborhood by decorating and then entering the lighting contest. Try and get a little cash back for all your efforts during this holiday season.
Enjoy some of the lights, especially during the Old Fashioned Christmas Riverwalk event on Dec.18. Santa will be down at the Visitor Center along with Santa’s Workshop and lots of stops along the Riverwalk hosted by local businesses and nonprofit agencies. Mark this festivity down on your calendar.