Small Business Saturday is a hit for Hays County

By Kim Hilsenbeck

The so-called official start of the holiday shopping season is typically Black Friday. But a new trend is making its way into the vernacular of American shoppers: Small Business Saturday.

Started by credit card company American Express, the movement was a way to promote local retailers rather than just big box stores.

While not all small shops accept that card, the concept of shopping local is appealing to both business owners and holiday shoppers.

Ebony Givens, owner of Kyle’s Yeyos on Lehman Road, said Black Friday and Small Business Saturday were not necessarily any busier than her typical weekends.

“With Garcia’s (restaurant) next door, I get a lot of traffic in here,” she said.

Givens opened the store about two years ago.

“Every year I try to enhance the business,” she said.

She said if she were a stand-alone store that didn’t get the foot traffic from being next to a popular restaurant, her weekend may not have been as good.

But with a mixture of hair care products, ladies apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags and blinged t-shirts, she offers some niche products not available elsewhere in Kyle or Buda.

Givens said she doesn’t sell what Kohl’s and Ross sell.

“To me, this is more of a hip hop (store),” she said.

At Buda’s Wink, Jeanne Jordan said her women’s clothing boutique, which she co-owns with Karla Sonnek, had a decent Black Friday but she said Saturday was better.

“Friday was a little slow, but we kind of expected that,” she said. “We did a decent Friday, but Saturday was awesome.”

With a 25 percent off everything sale, which Jordan said was a big deal for a boutique of its size, she said they saw a steady stream of people throughout the day.

“We even had people who came from Kyle,” she said. “We did the best we’ve ever done.”

The store sells women’s clothing, accessories and some jewelry, including items where a portion of the proceeds help organizations around the world.

Further up Main Street in Buda, Sandra Grizzle, owner of Old Main Street Station, said she also saw a good-sized crowd of shoppers on Saturday. Her “old and new treasures” as proclaimed on her business card, drew in shoppers from the Buda area and beyond.

“The hand-painted tree ornaments and wine glasses were a big hit,” she said.

Grizzle, along with the owners of Buda’s Red Door, Nelda Montemayor, and Little Bluebird, Margaret Goebler, participated in Shop Local. That initiative, similar to Small Business Saturday, promotes purchasing from local shop owners in Kyle and Buda.

Montemayor, who sells what she called unique clothing and gifts, said Saturday was awesome. Shoppers who participated received a passport that was stamped at each store, which offered special deals along with refreshments throughout the day to lure holiday shoppers into staying and buying local.

Tiara’s, Sway Vintage in Kyle, along with Buda’s Red Door, Little Bluebird, Old Main Street Station and Main Mercantile, were the stores on the passport. Shoppers then put their completed cards into a drawing for a $50 gift card.

Montemayor said she gave out about 100 passports on Saturday.

She said last Wednesday and Black Friday were also busy, but as a small boutique offering clothing, vintage items, shoes, accessories and some home décor items, she can’t offer the drastic markdowns like big box stores.

Having more local customers would make a difference, Montemayor said.

“If everybody would just once a month come in, that would help,” she said.

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