As Small Business Saturday celebrates its fifth year November 29th, downtown Waukegan businesses are ready for the big day. From Jimmie’s Corner, the new coffee shop at 10 N. Sheridan Road serving up hot coffee and tasty treats, to Horsefeathers, the eclectic store that has been at 129 N. Genesee Street for over 30 years, small businesses downtown and around the country are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. According to the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, consumer support for independently-owned businesses is increasing. More than three quarters of shoppers say they will be spending more or the same amount on Small Business Saturday as they did last year, providing independent businesses with a welcome boost in sales.
“We all enjoy knowing the people we’re buying from and knowing we’ll see the same friendly faces every time we visit the merchant,” said Jane Ferry, Executive Director of Waukegan Main Street.
“The downtown corridor will be busy all day from Grand Avenue to Lake Street and West Street to Sheridan Road. Along with the stores and restaurants, we’ll have five galleries – Tufo’s Galerie, Sidecar Studios, Karcher 405, Wildwood Studio and Dandelion Gallery – open this year, too! The galleries offer a wide variety of art at a range of prices. Being open will give artists a chance to meet their patrons, and consumers will also walk away with a one-of-a-kind gifts.”
Dandelion Gallery’s featured artist in November is Mary Clare Jakes who will have ceramic ornaments, soap dishes, flower vases and jewelry priced from $10- $25 as well as larger ceramic art pieces from $45 – $200. Lezlie Lenz will have her 1000 Angels series in holiday cards as well as cards by Bob Nonnemaker. Sandie Bacon will bring her unique jewelry. Amy Lynn Ross’s ornaments using her unique acrylic cut-out style are on display. Check out other stops, sales and specials here.
Held each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday is a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods and downtowns around the country. Five years after its inception, half of US consumers report that they are aware of and take part in Small Business Saturday. Just as important, 77% say Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop small all year long. “Waukegan Main Street encourages people to spend money in locally-owned businesses throughout the year,” said Ferry. “Money spent in these local, independent businesses has three times the impact on our community as money spent at national chains. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement, and promote community development.”
Some businesses are having Small Business Saturday specials, such up to 50% off of merchandise at Alfredo’s Treasure Chest, 105 S. Genesee. Another special are half-priced hamburgers and sandwiches for lunch at 17 North when people show a receipt from a local business. “Hopefully that will encourage people to stay downtown longer,” said 17 North owner Tom LeBaron, located at 17 N. Genesee.
American Express is encouraging people to spend more by offering Card a $10 statement credit when they register then use their registered Card to spend $10 or more on a single in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location. Card Members can take advantage of this offer up to three times on the day. Registration is available at ShopSmall.com.
“We’re hoping for good weather and lots of ringing registers,” said Ferry.