Locals prepare for Small Business Saturday

Published 7:26 am Friday, November 29, 2013

Don’t get too tired after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as there are plenty of deals to be found at Austin’s local businesses on Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, a shopping movement started in large part by American Express in 2010, will come once again to the area on Nov. 30, just a day after Black Friday.

“It’s great,” said Jeanne Anderson, general manager at Evenson’s Hallmark in downtown Austin. “We all stick together here in the downtown. We work together.”

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Local businesses like Evenson’s, Hardy Geranium, Belles and Beaus, Sterling Main Street and more will mark down goods in time for the holiday season, which leaves local business owners hopeful that small businesses can compete with the Black Friday madness often found at larger retailers.

“I’m just hoping people want to support their small business,” said Vicki Trimble, owner of Hardy Geranium. “I think it’s time they do stuff for small businesses.”

While Evenson’s will have sales on everything from talking mistletoe and stationery bundles to ribbon and picture books, Hardy Geranium plans to have deals on custom arrangements, Christmas wreathes, kissing balls and more gifts.

The holiday season often marks an uptick in sales across the board, and American Express helped to start Small Business Saturday as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Yet some local businesses didn’t see a clear increase in business last year, which is why retailers are planning to offer deals that will hopefully get more foot traffic this year.

Downtown Austin businesses are confident in expanded business opportunities, however. Vision 2020 released survey results last month that show more businesses in downtown Austin think the area’s economic outlook is better than it has been in recent years, and are looking forward to further economic growth.

Vision 2020 surveyed 25 downtown businesses earlier this fall. Of those participants, 52 percent rate business as better than five years ago, 39 percent rate business this year better than last, 70 percent rate the business outlook for 2014 as better than this year, and no participant thought next year would be worse than 2013. In addition, 68 percent plan to stay in business downtown on a long-term basis.

That’s good news for locals hoping to get deals at local stores.

“A lot of these local businesses give back to the community, so any way you can give back is great,” said Jessica Jenkins, store manager at Sterling Main Street.