‘You’re supporting a family and a dream.’ Small Business Saturday in Minnesota has a personal touch

Small Business Saturday in Minnesota has a personal touch

Small Business Saturday in Minnesota has a personal touch

The gathering, at an open space along West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis, looked like a party.

But on this Small Business Saturday, there was serious work going on here.

“You’re not just supporting a small business, you’re supporting a family and a dream,” declared Markella Smith, owner of The Dream Shop.   

“Specifically having Small Business Saturday is a reminder that there are all of these great products in your own community that you can buy,” added Shemeka Bogan, the project manager for the event.

The get-together was called ‘Black Friday on Broadway’ — although it extended through Saturday.

A venue where about 30 Black entrepreneurs were selling everything from craft jewelry, to candles, to fashion items.

“People are looking for some bargains,” Smith explains. “But also, people are being very intentional about supporting small businesses in their community versus going to the big box stores.”

According to Bankrate, a financial analytics website, shoppers nationwide spent nearly $18 billion at small businesses on this day in 2022.

The National Retail Federation is predicting an up to 4% rise in holiday sales this year — but also says shoppers are spending more and buying less.

“I think people are watching what they’re spending,” notes Ja’Dae Geiger, owner of the Divine Beauty Company. “The cost of everything has gone up so much. I think people are really conscious about how they spend their money.”

After its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday is becoming a big event in some Minnesota towns.

“I think you’re more likely to find a unique item and good prices,” says Katie Tillotson from Rochester. “Things you can take home, you feel like you just found a treasure.”

In Hastings, they call it ‘Holiday Hoopla.’

Managers at The Little Shop of Treasures say their sales are triple that of a normal Saturday, with about 1,000 customers throughout the day.

“We see a lot of traffic; I think it’s one of our best days that we do it in the year,” says Katie Gustafson, the assistant manager. “You get to meet the locals; you get that small-town community feel to it. We see a lot of familiar faces come in.”

On this day, for shoppers and merchants, it’s not business, it’s personal. “It’s all about relationship building,” Geiger says. “I tell people all the time, when you take care of people, the people will take care of you.”