OSWEGO — Homegrown businesses across the U.S. are celebrating Small Business Saturday Across, a day that encourages shopping locally, and a number of Oswego shops are participating by offering enticing deals in an effort to bolster community support.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday tend to shine in the limelight during the holiday gift-shopping season, but nestled between the two is Small Business Saturday (SBS), for which many local shops are opening their doors today with a variety of special offers.
For community leaders and several owners of locally grown businesses, Saturday serves as an opportunity to further the city’s economic development, encouraging a feedback loop that keeps tax dollars in the community.
“Small businesses add the unique beauty, character and charm that makes Oswego County an incredible community to work, shop, dine out and play,” said Katie Toomey, the executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and by shopping local this holiday season, you are accomplishing more than checking off the items on your holiday shopping list, you are supporting your family, neighbors and friends."
According to a 2018 survey produced by American Express, which launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, more than 100 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants during the one-day event last year.
City of Oswego Common Councilman Kevin Hill, R-3rd Ward said small businesses also contribute to local causes.
“Small businesses contribute to the unique fabric and identity of a community, with a more personal, hands-on and memorable customer experience, with the ability to customize and provide a one-of-kind product or service,” said Hill, who is a partner at JP Jewelers — located on W. Bridge Street. “We contribute more per dollar to the local community and are frequent supporters of local organizations, causes or events.”
This year, the jewelry store is bringing back its annual “Holiday Spectacular.”
“We returning over $8,000 in cash and prizes to our loyal customers during (the annual promotion),” Hill said. “This is in addition to store wide savings of 20-50% off all fine jewelry throughout the holiday season.”
A blossoming downtown, which has seen significant changes in the last half decade due to revitalization grants, is an “encouraging” sight for Port City business owners like Greg Mills, who owns Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports on W. First Street.
“I am looking out front and seeing people walking up and down with their families, with bags in their hands. That and the changes with construction downtown are encouraging,” he said in a Friday interview. “The more opportunities to shop local they have, the more they are going to live local. The more we find those resources to encourage them to stick around, it can only be beneficial to the stores here to attract new stores and residents. I love helping people and when I see people getting a book, or candy it is just more encouraging.”
Murdock’s week-long sale, which features discounts on items all around the store, will end today.
The River’s End Bookstore will also be participating in SBS, bringing in seven local authors Saturday.
“The idea behind shopping local is just keeping your money in your community,” co-owner Bill Riley said. “It helps sustain it because it pays taxes and the booksellers we employ take their paychecks and take their business locally. (SBS) also allows our downtown to retain a unique character.”
Riley, whose store is posed diagonally from where the new mixed-used Litatro Building will rise in the heart of downtown, noted downtown growth is important and affects different facets of the community.
“We are not overrun by big box stores downtown and we have got a vested interest in the success of the community,” he said. “If we are healthy and residents are supporting small businesses, we are in turn helping schools, charitable causes and it all goes round and round.”
River’s End’s event will feature seven local authors in-store, starting at 10 a.m. today and until 6 p.m.