Small, local businesses thrive on seasonal shopping

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday becoming increasingly important in the world of holiday shopping, small businesses were often overshadowed in the early 2000s by large corporations and chains. Because of this, American Express began a campaign for what is now called “Small Business Saturday,” the day after Black Friday, on which American citizens are encouraged to shop and eat locally and support small businesses in their area. 

The increase of awareness for small businesses can greatly impact the sales of a local company. “[We usually have] between 15 to 30 [customers], it just depends on the day,” said Lisa Richter, who has owned LBL on Main Street in Cedar Falls since 2009. “I think [Small Business Saturday] gets people out and about to check out the stores that are readily available instead of using big stores or online.” 

Richter’s business was closed for six weeks during the quarantine stage of the pandemic, resulting in a 30 percent drop in sales in 2020 compared to a usual year. Although her sales in 2021 have been similar to that of an average year, Richter’s business faces many other challenges as well. 

“Finding quality merchandise at competitive prices and getting people to come out and shop [is difficult],” Richter said. “I’m lucky to have really great staff.” 

Although Richter’s business has faced many difficulties over the years, she said she believes that Small Business Saturday’s public awareness has helped her company. “American Express has done a really good job of getting everyone to catch on, and it really lets people know what businesses they have locally.”

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