New Orleans Shops Garner Benefits of Small Business Saturday
NEW ORLEANS – For many local entrepreneurs, this Saturday won’t be business as usual. Nov. 24 is Small Business Saturday – a nationwide campaign encouraging consumers to shop local. In New Orleans, small business owners run discounts and host promotional events to attract holiday shoppers and ultimately boost sales.
“Small Business Saturday is one of our favorite times of the year,” said Erin Hebert, the owner of Armoire Boutique on Magazine Street. “We host an annual shopping event called Thanks a Brunch. It's our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those that go out of their way to shop local.
Armoire will also provide mimosas and treats for their guests, along with 15-percent off their entire inventory.
“Small Business Saturday truly is a community-driven event; the more business owners talk about it, the bigger and better it will be for all of us,” said Hebert. “With its growing popularity, we anticipate an even greater turnout than in past years.”
During last year’s Small Business Saturday event, approximately $108 million Americans shopped or dined at independently-owned businesses in their communities, generating roughly $12 billion for local business, nationwide, in one day.
Groups like StayLocal – the Independent Business Alliance of Greater New Orleans – promotes independent shops and touts the benefits of keeping dollars within the local economy. They also host business workshops and networking events throughout the year.
“We are what's called a neighborhood champion of the “shop small” method on Small Business Saturday,” said Maryann Miller, the program manager of StayLocal. “We are able to help make connections, network, publicize and advocate for the businesses that are participating.”
According to StayLocal’s 2017 survey, 55-percent of 100 independent New Orleans retailers reported an increase in holiday sales from the prior year. The average increase was 3.3-percent.
In the same survey, 74-percent of New Orleans retailers agreed that participating in the Small Business Saturday campaign created a positive impact on their holiday season sales. Sixty-nine percent of them said that competition from online mega-retailers was their top challenge.
This year, StayLocal is promoting the holiday shopping events happening on Oak Street, Bayou Road, and Lower Magazine Street, along with a maker's market, museum and art event on O.C. Haley Boulevard.
“We're trying to do a good geographic distribution, so people feel like we're not just reminding them about these businesses, but we're also reminding them that these are the essential places in your part of town,” said Miller.
The organization’s website lists the stores participating in Small Business Saturday, along with a map showing where each one is located. StayLocal will also spread the word via social media.
“What we do is publicize everything that everyone tells us they are doing,” said Miller. “We have a long roster of what's happening from place-to-place around town, that's specifically festive and different than what businesses are offering the rest of the holiday season.”
Southern Rep Theatre (2541 Bayou Rd) will offer complimentary swag with every in-person ticket order; along with a $90 subscription that includes one ticket each for three plays in the 2019 spring season (“The Wolves”, “Azul”, and “Flowers for Halie”).
Creative Arts New Orleans at Dryades Public Market (1307 O.C. Haley Blvd., 3rd Floor) will host an exhibition and sale of traditional American and Afro-Caribbean inspired quilts and quilted bags.
Kitchen Witch Cookbooks (1452 N. Broad St.) will offer half-off books, complimentary refreshments, and chance to win a six-pack of their signature spice blend.
At Haase’s Shoe Store (8119 Oak St.), purchases of $50 or more will be discounted by 10-percent; $100 or more, 15-percent; and $150 or more, 20-percent.
Locally-owned restaurants, and food and beverage vendors also participate in Small Business Saturday.
Coast Roast Coffee & Tea (2831 St. Claude Ave.) will give away one free cup of select house brew coffee, with a purchase of a 12-ounce bag of Coast Roast coffee beans.
"A bag of coffee makes a great office or teacher gift. It's something anyone can enjoy and get use out of," said Coast Roast owner Kevin Pedeaux, adding that he's noticed an "uptick of business" on the Saturday that follows Thanksgiving. "I don't know if it is Small Business Saturday, or just that more people are out and about, and grabbing coffee while they're out. But it is generally a big day."
From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Roux Carre (2000 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) will host a makers fair featuring local artists and goods, along with drink specials, a variety of food options, and live music from Strate Notes.
At 2 p.m., SoFAB Pantry (1504 O. C. Haley Blvd.) will stage a cooking demonstration by Nancy Wilson, author of Memere’s Country Creole Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from Louisiana’s German Coast. SoFAB is also offering one complimentary museum admission with the purchase of Wilson’s cookbook.
Although StayLocal promotes the Small Business Saturday events, the business-owners develop their individual marketing strategies.
“They know their clientele best; they know their market best, they know their mood and their reputation best," said Miller. "And because they've been participating Small Business Saturday, they've definitely hit upon some ways in which they know the success will be redoubled with their efforts.”
By Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, Biz New Orleans associate news editor