Small Business Saturday boosts local economy

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SALT LAKE CITY — All along the 9th and 9th area Saturday, a blue circle could be seen in the windows of local shops urging passersby to "Shop Small."

Sheridan Mordue, co-owner of Hip and Humble, a home decor and women's clothing and accessories boutique near 900 South and 1000 East, said Saturday was as big a business day as it gets at Hip and Humble. "This will be one of our top revenue days for the whole entire year."

A Small Business Saturday banner was hanging from the shop's large front window, along with a chalk sign near the front walk, a sign in the window near the entrance and a door mat at the shop's door.

Having been in business for 14 years — 10 years at the 9th and 9th-area location — Mordue can appreciate the difference this designated day makes, as she has participated every year since Small Business Saturday's 2010 inception.

"We have seen it grow exponentially every year," she said. "Honestly, it has really changed the voice of small business in that so many people are aware… Today they go out and find these shops and buy and it's a great connection to the community and neighborhood."

The local businesses in the area bring brightness and make the streets lighter and safer, she said. Saturday is the day when the neighborhood returns the favor by coming in the doors and the business owners welcome them in a "collaborative effort."

"It really impacts the relationships that happen between all small business owners," Mordue said. "It's all about the neighborhood."

Just east of Hip and Humble, there was a warming lamp and a small cart featuring spiced cider and clementines outside of Purse Dreams. Jennifer Fei, the shop's owner, said that was part of the collaboration between shop owners — the warming lamps and snack stops like the one she had sponsored.

"We all band together to create a festive experience," she said.

We all band together to create a festive experience.

–Jennifer Fei, owner of Purse Dreams

For her, Small Business Saturday is a boost for her business regardless of revenue.

"It doesn't always translate to the highest sales, but it's definitely the biggest day for foot traffic," Fei said. "If I get three new people in the door, to me, that's a success."

One feature her shop offers is allowing customers to create a "wish list" that Fei enters into a computer so that if their friends or loved ones come in, knowing they wanted something from the shop, she can point them in the right direction.

"I believe people come here because it's a relationship," Fei said. "It used to be like that — when you actually knew the salespeople and store owners."

Mordue thinks buying from local, small businesses is a trend, but "I don't think that the trend will end," she said.

Alison Hermance grew up in the area and returned from her current home in Northern California for the Thanksgiving holiday. She was visiting some favorite shops along 1500 East with her parents when they realized it was Small Business Saturday and decided to make their way to 900 South.

Four times as much money stays in the community when spent locally then when spent at national stores.

–Mayor Ben McAdams

"We did this specifically for Small Business Saturday," she said. "It's a fun thing."

This year, Small Business Saturday was the second day of Local First Utah's "Shift Your Spending" week. Local First Utah's executive director Nan Seymour said at a kickoff event Friday that if every household in Utah shifted 10 percent of its spending to local businesses, an additional $1.3 billion dollars would be kept in the state's economy.

"Here is the chance to make a difference," Seymour said. "We know that voting with our dollars does make a difference and invite you to do so by shifting your spending in favor of locally owned businesses.

"This movement depends on the enthusiasm and us spreading the message."

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams reiterated the economic benefits of buying local, while adding that it improves costumer service and reduces environmental impacts.

"Four times as much money stays in the community when spent locally then when spent at national stores," he said. "That's money that will be spent in our restaurants, more local shops, more money that will come in to benefit all of us in our various aspects of employment."

Video contributing: Ashley Kewish


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