While Black Friday marks one of the biggest shopping days of the year for major retailers, small businesses are trying to carve themselves a niche in the holiday spending bonanza with Small Business Saturday.
With the advent of the holiday in 2010, local brick-and-mortars, such as those found at Point Dume Village in Malibu, are looking for ways to stay relevant and keep the attention of consumers as they shop for holiday gifts over the next month.
“It’s really an uphill battle,” said Celeste Ferrier, owner of Oceanne Malibu Salon and Day Spa. “But we’re just hoping that some people are tired of going to the malls and all the craziness and just would [want] to hang out and relax and just want to get their little gift items thought of and bought locally.”
Businesses in Point Dume Village and across Malibu offered consumers a variety of discounts on Saturday, Nov. 29, in observance of the spending holiday.
Ferrier’s salon is on the second floor of the plaza. She said its location makes it difficult for shoppers to know about her business at all.
But with an annual event geared toward small businesses, Ferrier feels her salon can gain more visibility.
“I think it’s going to help a lot — maybe not in the immediate sales for the day, but just making people aware,” Ferrier said. “They may not buy, but it gets into their mind that there is something up there.”
Ryan Peck, manager of D’Amore’s Pizza, also has a consumer awareness problem he felt could be remedied by Small Business Saturday.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to let some people in the community know that we’re here,” Peck said, “because even though we’ve been here for almost two years, some people don’t even know.”
On Saturday, Bank of Books gave away 7,000 books. Each customer took home three free books, and only paid $1 per additional book. The books that were left over on Sunday were donated to Friends of the Library.
The bookstore also held several book readings and signings inside their shop to commemorate the day.
D’Amore’s Pizza and Lily’s Café gave away free samples of pizza and burritos, respectively, to customers.
Anouk, a clothing store at the plaza, put out two racks of clothing outside their store that offered items for $20, and also had discounts on clothes inside the store.
Andrea Brown, manager of Anouk, said the store has participated in the holiday for the past few years. She feels the day can help keep small businesses afloat.
“I think it’s important to support the smaller business as well because it’s your local community,” Brown said. “If you don’t, then all the mom-and-pop businesses will slowly go out of business.”
Pam Eilerson, manager of Bank of Books, facilitated the participation of the businesses for Small Business Saturday. She said all but one business partook in the event.
Eilerson calls the holiday “the kinder, gentler alternative to Black Friday,” and hopes that Malibu locals will support their neighborhood businesses going forward.
“There’s a lot of lip service to shopping small here right now with Measure R, and we appreciate that support,” Eilerson said, “but we also want to see monetary support during the holidays.”
Small Business Saturday was started on Nov. 27, 2010, by American Express as a response to shopping holiday behemoths such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Last year, American consumers who knew about the holiday spent a total of $5.7 billion, according to a 2013 Bloomberg article.