Small businesses ready for retail holiday

The prospect of larger than usual crowds on Main Street in Buda this weekend is an enticing proposition for local business owner Nelda Montemayor.

Montemayor, like many small business owners, is preparing for Small Business Saturday, a retail “holiday” created by American Express in 2010 to promote small business and local shopping.

Even with the rise of internet and online shopping, Montemayor said residents still clamor for hyperlocal commerce.

“We do have those customers that care about shopping local and buying handmade products, like t-shirts or candles made locally,” Montemayor said. “We have those who do come and support us small businesses.”

According to American Express, Small Business Saturday, which is held the day after Black Friday, directly impacts not only the bottom line of smaller businesses, but the local community as well. Per an AmEx economic business study, roughly 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business goes directly back to a community.

In Texas, 81 percent of residents plan to shop at a small business this holiday season, according to the AmEx study.

According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, 93 percent of Texans said small businesses are essential for a community; 93 percent of residents were also likely to value the contributions small businesses made as well.

J.R. Gonzales, Buda Area Chamber of Commerce managing director, said SBS is a nice reminder to people to “get out and support local small businesses,” which are the backbone of most communities.

Gonzales said it’s more of a focus in Buda, which is working to keep its small town feel, especially in the downtown sector.

“We support shopping local. These are our neighbors and friends,” Gonzales said. “We want to keep this town unique. Without small businesses, Buda would not be Buda.”

But Gonzales said there is also sentimental value to shopping local and visiting local businesses. While shopping online is convenient, what’s lost is the visceral aspect of shopping, such as touching or feeling a gift and asking questions, Gonzales said.

“In today’s fast paced society, it’s nice to go shopping and obtain that interaction,” Gonzales said. “Too many times, we forget about that.”

In Kyle, Julie Snyder, Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said her staff is working to push the importance of SBS to its members and business owners. Snyder said prior to SBS, the Kyle Chamber is handing out SBS kits provided by AmEx in order to promote the retail holiday.

But Snyder also hopes to see interest and patronage of small businesses increase in the future. Snyder said working together with chamber members and business owners could help make a difference in raising awareness of SBS.

“I know the ease of online shopping is convenient, however, there isn’t anything better than seeing a product right then and there and having that face-to-face connection with a business owner and learning their story and developing that relationship,” Snyder said.

For Montemayor, continued promotion among small business owners is the key to possibly growing SBS in the future.

“They (American Express) are putting out there and they’re promoting it. The thing we can do is get it out there. Telling people, ‘Hey, there’s more to just shopping than big box stores.’”

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