Many local businesses in Central and Southwest Virginia participated in Small Business Saturday, and some downtown Bedford businesses said they saw a boost in sales.
“I think it’s the small businesses that hold the community together,” said Virginia Howery-Ford, one of many shoppers visiting stores like Goose Creek Studio in downtown Bedford for Small Business Saturday. “We just discovered this lovely little shop about a couple of months ago.”
“Business has picked up quite a bit from a regular Saturday,” said Mitchell Bond, co-owner of Goose Creek Studio, a gallery and craft shop.
Bond said his shop typically sees a boost in business throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Small Business Saturday has helped raise awareness of shopping local, he added.
“Small Business Saturday is a great way to promote the fact that we are…locally-owned, and we show local artwork here,” Bond said.
Downtown Bedford shop owners said it is not just this year that they have seen a spike in business on Thanksgiving weekend. They said Small Business Saturday is becoming more popular every year.
“People talk about it,” said Jim Messier, president of Arthur’s Jewelry. “We prepared for Black Friday. We had a great day yesterday, but it’s nice to have our own event like this at the holidays.”
Many downtown Bedford shops offered discounts for Small Business Saturday. Shop owners said the event is not just important to their stores, but also to towns like Bedford.
“We’re trying to keep Bedford going and get more people down here to see what it’s all about – it’s a nice town; it’s decorated now for Christmas, too,” said Linda Kuczmarski, owner of Needful Things Antiques. “That’s what’s important about Small Business Saturday – is get the people in the local areas to keep the businesses open.”