For Karen Mattison, owner of Pages in Time and Uniquely You, shopping local doesn't only apply to her customers.
When making her decor and jewelry selections for the store in Sutter Place Mall near 48th Street and Nebraska 2, Mattison said sourcing her products from mostly American and local creators ensures customer satisfaction.
"I like locally-made," Mattison said. "The USA and Canada is where most of my clothes are from, and I have a local lady who does the decorating in here, also for sale. I always put 'Made in Lincoln, Nebraska' if we can get it."
Small Business Saturday, which started in 2010, is the latest of the post-Thanksgiving shopping holidays. Shopper are encouraged to go to community-based retail locations and take advantage of in-store sales. Last year, shoppers nationwide spent $13 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Mattison said her goal as a shop owner is to ensure all her customers know they matter and that her store is a pressure-free environment.
And Small Business Saturday, Mattison said, has been a way to bring in new customers and increase foot traffic in her store, adding that the concept is great for local owners to connect with their community.
"(People) will see that local stores aren't so crowded, it's not people shoving and pushing," Mattison said. "We will greet them with a smile, and we will treat them like local friends, local family. Holidays should be about giving instead of getting so much, and making (shoppers) feel wanted."
At The Yarn Shop, across the hall from Mattison's store, customers were greeted by a table of enthralled knitters, with seats open for those with projects to finish.
Mittra Nguyen, who's owned the store for three years, said Small Business Saturday helps give an edge to stores such as her's.
"We carry very different yarns and quality of yarns, and the box-store yarns are generally the lower-end yarns," Nguyen said. "We carry more of the fine yarns, so, of course, here you have a wider range of color options, blends and types of yarns."
Much of the yarn was on sale Saturday, which Nguyen said led to increased traffic for much of the day.
"It encourages people to shop local," Nguyen said. "There is a lot of small business here in Lincoln that a lot of people don't know about."
Several local businesses in the Haymarket also had sales Saturday, including Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe.
Registered as a low-profit limited liability company, Indigo Bridge is able to devote some of its sales to nonprofit community outreach programs, manager Tory Hall said.
Much of that money goes to programs focused on English literacy. Hall said the business model rolls money back into the community and boosts customer enthusiasm.
"The more people hear about that, the more pumped they are and the more excited they are to come to a place that brings money back into their community," she said. "When you spend money locally it goes back, in terms of taxes, at three times the rate of buying from Amazon or big-boxes (stores)."
Hall said Saturday's in-store discounts, combined with the added foot traffic from the Nebraska men's basketball game against Western Illinois at nearby Pinnacle Bank Arena, made for a "jaw-dropping" day of sales.
"It is huge, because I do deposits every week and I see every receipt," Hall said. "Seeing $400 or $500 in sales would be a good day, and we are already (at) $2,000 at 2:45 p.m."
Hall said before working at Indigo Bridge, she hadn't thought much about the benefits of shopping small, but work experience has motivated her to support local owners.
"You are reinvesting your money into your community and into your infrastructure, and your streets and police officers and teachers," Hall said. "The fact of the matter is that small businesses are created and inspired and loved by the people who have them in their hearts. I prefer to support someone following their passion."
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