Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 25, 2011

Small Business Saturday set to ring up local sales

Princeton Times

PRINCETON — Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, holiday shoppers will get a chance to make a big difference in the local economy with Small Business Saturday.

While giant franchises and online operators nab most of the sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Nov. 26 will mark the second Small Business Saturday, on which consumers are encouraged to make at least one purchase from a local business, supporting the area’s entrepreneurs who contribute to the local culture, flavor and economy.

Local business owners eagerly welcomed the new holiday tradition and pledged their stores will be open for business Saturday and welcoming for any and all visitors.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Elizabeth Osborne, owner of Elizabeth’s Boutique, said. “It gives us a fighting a chance, because we don’t have the big bucks to advertise like some of the larger chains do.”

Osborne, a longtime Mercer Street businesswoman, said her store will be open Saturday with a big sale in place for folks looking to select their Christmas gifts locally. Her merchandise includes purses, unique clothing, jewelry and gift items that make for merry Christmas morning surprises.

“My merchandise is going to be on sale like it’s never been on sale before, for that one day only,” she said.

Next door to Elizabeth’s Boutique, Lori McKinney Blankenship said the RiffRaff Art Gallery will be open for Small Business Saturday, featuring a new lineup of photography, paintings, jewelry, pottery, stained glass and more.

“I think the idea of Small Business Saturday is fantastic. We need all the help we can get, and we have so many great local businesses downtown,” Blankenship said.

Rather than focus on one-day sales, she said RiffRaff’s gallery is looking toward a joyful holiday season, with a gallery full of new items available for art enthusiasts.

The offerings there include tie-dye items, blown glass, tapestries and several new stained-glass items, including kaleidoscope necklaces.

Also on Princeton’s Mercer Street, The Bronze Look’s Randolph Evans is looking forward to Small Business Saturday.

“We’re going to be open in Princeton and Bluefield that day,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful idea, because when people shop locally, they help the local economy. A lot of small businesses really depend on the support from their communities.”

Evans said the new shopping holiday “couldn’t happen on a better day.”

Due to the nature of his collectibles and the way market value sets the prices on gold and silver, Evans said his stores won’t feature special sales on Saturday. But, he believes The Bronze Look always offers the best value for the merchandise.

Small Business Saturday is a practice initially endorsed by American Express, but the nation’s Small Business Administration is backing it whole-heartedly this year.

In a media release distributed this week, SBA Administrator Karen Mills said, “Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. Half of America’s workers either own or work for a small business ... Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show our support for our friends and neighbors who throughout the year are growing our local economy, as well as supporting many local initiative and organizations.”

According to the SBA, small businesses have generated two of every three net new jobs over the past 15 years and employ more than half of all private sector employees.

— Contact Tammie Toler at