The moniker comes from American Express, who wanted to help small businesses earn big bucks.
Small Business Saturday is supposed to be the answer to Black Friday’s encouragement to shop till you drop at big-box stores, but for smaller stores on St. Armands Circle, it seems to be just another day, albeit one in a busy weekend.
“This is one of the busier weekends of the year,” Giving Tree Gallery Manager Monica Eshkoli said. “Yesterday we were slammed here for Black Friday. It was busier than I thought it would be.”
Black Friday still reigns supreme as the discount holiday of the year, even with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday creeping onto the scene.
“We actually had a higher discount [Friday],” Fresh Produce associate Teri Eurick said. “Black Friday is Black Friday, and it’s hard to compete with that.”
Although it might not be the spending spasm that other businesses enjoy, The Giving Tree Gallery used Small Business Saturday as a way to connect with customers by setting out wine, cheese and chocolates.
“It’s great marketing exposure,” Eshkoli said. “Even if people haven’t bought today, they’ve hung out in the store. ”
With globally known brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama on the Circle, it can be hard for a mom-and-pop store to stand out, but at the Spice and Tea Exchange, the guy with the pink hat hopes to act as a beacon to draw people in. Robert Allan (with his pink hat) was posted outside the storefront offering taste tests of spice mixes and products in the store to the tourists and newly arrived locals strolling the Circle.
“It’s a nice walking mall and sunny and warm year-round,” Allan said. “We’re a mom-and-pop, and we’ve been here 10 years. That’s good longevity.”