Holiday sales shift to newer demographics

Garret Kluever, Biz and tech editor

Whitewater shoppers gathered downtown to support local business by buying and visiting their favorite stores.

Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop at local businesses the Saturday after thanksgiving to counteract the corporate holiday shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This promotion is not baseless however, according to the Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) for every dollar put into small business, $.45 cents stays in the local community for the next business cycle.

Compare that to a dollar put into big box stores and corporations of which only $.13 cents stays in the community over the next cycle.

This is why Whitewater Downtown Whitewater Executive Director Courtney Nelson heralds this cause.

“The mom and pop stores celebrated on Small Business Saturday help to define and shape our community,” Nelson said. “I think people are drawn to downtowns because they are unique, historic, they have soul.”

17 Whitewater businesses participated on Saturday. Businesses who signed up recieved Shop Small kits which included canvas bags for purchases, stickers, mats, buttons and other promotional materials.

You may have seen some of these deep navy memorabilia pasted on doors and windows downtown, one of which was Dale’s Bootery which has participated in the annual event since it’s beginning.

Owner Robert Herold explained how he has seen the holiday increase in numbers each year and it’s impact nation-wide.

“We’ve been doing it since we’ve began and every year it continues to grow and grow. It’s important for business not just here but everywhere,” Herold said.

Shopping downtown and supporting the local economy are crucial for a healthy and thriving community. Buying from a mom n’ pop store directly supports your neighbors and allows them to continue providing their service.

This is a point Mary Sue Reutebuch understands and explained while she was shopping downtown during Small Business Saturday.

“I think anything that can remind people if they want a nice community, they have to support a nice community, is important,” said Reutebuch.

It’s no secret that over the past century with business growing nationally and even globally, the amount of local stores has significantly shrunk.

An unfortunate downside of this is that businesses often have to raise their prices a little to get by. However, small businesses are usually the first to promote a cause or activity in their communities, something a lot of big box sometimes miss out on.

“Shopping local may cost a little extra sometimes, but what the community gets back is worth it in a big way. When you look at events we host, the majority of sponsors are always locally-owned businesses. The owners work and live here and want to do what’s right for their neighbors,” said Nelson

Shopping small is one of the best ways to support your community, and as this event continues to grow, hopefully so will awareness of the local economy and how to improve it.