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Photo by Pam Eubanks. Stephen Powell, owner of Jewelry by Cole, crafts jewelry at his store on St. Armands Circle.
Longboat Key Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 2 years ago

Day celebrates small businesses

by: Amanda Sebastiano Staff Writer

Do you know a store around the corner that lives up to the sitcom “Cheers” mantra — “where everybody knows your name?”

Here’s a chance to say thank you.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes a newer kid on the block: Small Business Saturday.

American Express welcomes shoppers nationwide to show appreciation to small-business owners Nov. 30 by shopping locally. The company seeks to surpass the number of consumers who participated last year — 100 million.

With little to no representation during the shopping holidays, a gap for small-business owners needed to be filled, said Patricia Norins, retail expert and spokeswoman for Small Business Saturday. The day was created in November 2010 to address the issue.

One benefit of buying local is shoppers who patronize small businesses can expect better and more personal service.

“I think people are fed up with being put on hold for 30 minutes and then disconnected,” said Amelia Manning, owner of Discount Computers, Sarasota. “Here, you can physically walk into a building and see a familiar face.”

Stephen Powell, owner of Jewelry by Cole on St. Armands Circle, says the service level at small businesses is unmatched.

“Shopping at local retailers gives the customer better quality for better prices, with store associates who are knowledgeable,” said Powell.

Brad Stewart, co-owner of Captain Curt’s Crab and Oyster Bar and gift shop, on Siesta Key, said buying local also helps boost the area’s economy.

“Spending money locally keeps the money in that neighborhood,” Stewart said.

Creating awareness of businesses with owners who focus on customers first is the goal of the day.

“To ‘shop small’ is to celebrate small businesses year-round,” Norins said. “We need to help them, the way they help us. Owners know our names. The customer service is excellent, and their products are great; they’re vital to our communities.”

As an incentive, customers who use their American Express cards Saturday at a retailer on the Small Business Saturday map will receive a $10 credit off their next statement.

For more details on the event, the map of which businesses are participating and how to get involved, visit

“We’ve been participating (in Small Business Saturday) since it began. I’m the only master goldsmith in the area, so we stay pretty busy, but this helps.”
Stephen Powell, owner of Jewelry
by Cole

“I can tell the economy is bubbling back up. This event definitely draws more people into my store.”
Kevin Wallace, owner of Urban Accents, Lakewood Ranch

“We’re really fortunate in this area to have a lot of small businesses here.”
Brad Stewart, owner of Captain Curt’s Crab and Oyster Bar, Siesta Key

“We provide coffee in the morning every few months to do something extra for the customers.”
Doug Manning, owner of Discount Computers, Sarasota

Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].



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