While big box stores are offering deals of their own on Black Friday and through Thanksgiving weekend, small businesses are banding together and participating in various events to celebrate the local marketplace.
Small Business Saturday, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, will take place this year on Nov. 29. It’s a day when customers can enjoy a more relaxing shopping experience and find unique gifts for that special someone, such as a bracelet made by a local artist or a painting of a local landmark.
Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich will be kicking off a series of holiday events for Small Business Saturday. Lori Pinard, in charge of public relations for the shop, says the staff will be doing things a “bit different this year,” but will also “keep with tradition.”
“We will have an open house where the entire staff will personally guide people through their shopping and will help customers pick out unique specific gifts,” says Pinard.
The owners plan to transform the shop into a gingerbread house from the outside and offer refreshments, a raffle and free gift-wrapping. “Small Business Saturday is a way to show that we offer unique and specialized gifts at a reasonable price,” says Pinard.
Noelle Pina, executive director of Orleans Chamber of Commerce, says Small Business Saturday is not only a great way to find “local businesses around town,” but to also “participate in the holidays.” Pina says that it is important for businesses and consumers to “work together” to improve Cape commerce throughout the area.
The Orleans Improvement Association encourages all businesses to decorate their storefronts, the Nauset Model Railroad Club sets up model trains for people to view, and Friends’ Marketplace has a wine and cheese tasting.
“At the chamber, we will have our annual pancake breakfast and caroling stroll,” says Pina. “Every year at the Orleans Yacht Club, Mrs. Claus comes and the Hole in One (restaurant) provides pancakes and bacon. Community members gather around and wait for Santa to come down by boat and the children are so happy to see him. Then we end the day with our caroling stroll. Everyone does a great job and it’s a great way to kick off Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.”
Another Cape campaign that celebrates small businesses is Sandwich’s “Holly Days.” The month-long series of events is designed to create town traditions. The Holly Days booklet and listings are put together by Donna Kutil and Kirby Holmes, co-chairs of the retail committee through the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce. As part of Small Business Saturday and the Sandwich “Shop Local Days” program, the “Holly Days” listings invite small businesses in the area to advertise events, sales or campaigns.
Holmes, a manager at Eastern Bank in Sandwich, says 5,000 booklets will be printed and can help inform community members about “small businesses they may have never gone into before.”
June Kershaw, owner of Collections Gallery, an art cooperative in Sandwich, takes Small Business Saturday in another direction by participating in the town’s annual cookie stroll. Each year, participating businesses bake cookies and hand them out, along with recipes and information about their business. Kershaw says it is something she does to not only show people what the gallery is doing, but to also help “promote other businesses.”
Sandwich shop owner Angela Feldman of Heart of Stone, says the whole point of the cookie stroll is to “have a laugh,” but to also “say thank you to the community.”
“So much of shopping is impersonal today and you don’t know the people at Macy’s, or the people that are sending you things on the Internet,” says Feldman. “But if you visit your local neighborhood merchant, it is more of a personal experience and that has so much more meaning. “Retail is hard, and in Sandwich, things are so spread out that it becomes difficult to reach the community. But with the stroll, we can build our brands and show our individual destinations.”