Black Friday has the reputation for being the biggest sales day of the year, but for local businesses, Small Business Saturday can be even more profitable. Celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving both nationally and in Laramie, Small Business Saturday is a way for communities to come together to support each other.
“We know that for every $100 that’s spent in a locally owned business, $68 stays in our community,” said Trey Sherwood, Laramie Main Street Alliance executive director. “It’s a great way to invest in a place that you call home.”
Sherwood said that many of the businesses surveyed last year reported Small Business Saturday as their biggest sales day of the year. She added for a city that relies heavily on sales tax to fund government services, shopping local on Saturday can be exceptionally impactful.
“This is a great way for us to cheerlead for our local businesses and help educate the community on the importance of spending their dollars locally,” Sherwood said. “It also is a really awesome opportunity to create memories.”
The event features 64 local businesses and vendors, many of whom are offering their own discounts, treats and more for the event. Sherwood said about 10 vendors will be setting up “pop-up shops” in a building in transition on Second Street. Hosting the vendors — many of whom are regulars at the farmers market — is a great way for Main Street and the city to start meeting and supporting growing businesses that could be potential storefront tenants in the future, Sherwood said.
“This is a tradition that we hope to continue building by adding a pop-up component for every major event downtown,” Sherwood said.
Laramie has participated in Small Business Saturday for about six years, and Sherwood said she’s been encouraged by increasing participation.
“The first year we did this we had 25 participating businesses, so this event has seen a lot of growth for us,” Sherwood said.
One area Sherwood said she’s seen the most growth is restaurant participation. Many restaurants downtown are also offering incentives for Small Business Saturday shoppers this year.
“If you’re shopping downtown, hold onto your receipt,” Sherwood said, “because you can go into some of the restaurants, show them your receipt that you shopped local and get 10 percent off your meal. That’s a great way to break for lunch and still stay in the community.”
Other potential shopping breaks include wagon rides available downtown, a fire pit in the First Street Plaza and breakfast starting at 9 a.m. at First Interstate Bank. Sherwood said the bank is the perfect place to start the shopping day, because Main Street ambassadors will be there offering shopping guides, extra bags and coffee.
“To see people come down with their family after Thanksgiving and take their grandparents to their favorite local business or take their kids on a wagon ride through downtown — it’s just really a great opportunity to experience what makes our community unique,” Sherwood said.
During its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Laramie City Council issued a proclamation supporting Small Business Saturday and the efforts of Laramie Main Street Alliance, the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance and Wyoming Small Business Development Center. The proclamation acknowledged small businesses as the “backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our nation’s promise” and as a means to “ensure our communities remain as vibrant tomorrow as they are today.”
A list of participating shops, restaurants and vendors can be found at www.shopsmalllaramie.com.