Personal service a perk for Small Biz Sat. shoppers | PostIndependent.com

Personal service a perk for Small Biz Sat. shoppers

John Farley purchases a couple books during a busy black friday morning at Book Train in downtown Glenwood Springs while visting from out of town.

Small and local is the way to go for holiday shopping, says Cindy Svatos, long-time store clerk, customer service afficionado, you name it, at Confetti Design in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Not only does that consumer effort go a long way to support independent, locally owned, small businesses and the larger community in general, there's a good chance someone will remember your name as soon as you walk through the door, Svatos said.

"By being a small retailer, we can give you more personalized service," Svatos said. "And, we really do remember people. We have a lot of visitors who maybe stop in once a year when they're in town, and they'll comment, 'wow, you remembered me.' I think people really appreciate that."

Several Glenwood Springs retail stores, from locally owned shops selling everything from clothing and jewelry to outdoor sports equipment and health products, and even some local outlets for larger chains, are promoting Small Business Saturday.

The day was founded in 2010 by American Express to celebrate small local businesses, according to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. The following year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday, and by 2012 mayors, governors and even President Obama were championing the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to support hometown, independent businesses.

For Glenwood Springs' part, several local businesses are taking part by offering special promotions. Among them is TreadZ shoe and clothing store, where purchases will earn customers a balloon to pop for a special prize.

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According to Angie Anderson, executive vice president for the chamber, the local AT&T Cellular store is offering a free Maven 2 GoPhone with activation as part of Small Business Saturday, and area Mary Kay Cosmetics sales director Jeannie Martellaro will have special deals at her booth at the The Orchard Christmas Market in Carbondale on Saturday. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday at 110 Snowmass Drive.

The Ironbridge Grill, located at the Ironbridge Golf Club south of Glenwood Springs, is also offering 10 percent off dinner for anyone who shows a receipt from a Glenwood Springs or Carbondale business, Anderson said.

According to a recent AudienceSCAN survey released by SalesFuel, and distributed by the Glenwood Chamber, 23 percent of U.S. adults shopped at a locally owned business on Small Business Saturday last year, about the same as the prior year. That was down from two years ago, however, when 28.7 percent of Americans said they "shopped small."

A white paper put out by SalesFuel offers ways for small businesses to better capture customers amid competition from online sales and large-format retailers. It notes that big-box retailers are taking notice of consumer trends toward smaller-scale retail stores with the introduction of mini-stores in bigger cities and near college campuses, encroaching on what traditionally has been small-business territory.

"In addition to the ongoing competitive threat from online retailers, Target's CEO recently announced they're opening mini-stores in high-density cities and college towns to capture millennials and increase their localism with tailored stock," SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith said in the report.

According to AmericanExpress.com, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent in 2014 at small, independent businesses, and in 2015 small businesses attracted 95 million customers.

From her own observation point on Grand Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs, Svatos said the concept of shopping small is slowly catching in Glenwood and neighboring communities.

"We do have to do our part to encourage people to come in and shop, and say to people that small shops and staying local is the way to go," she said.

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