OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Every year, big-box retailers like Walmart and Target reign supreme on Black Friday but when it comes to holiday shopping, local business owners want you to think small.
That’s why many locally-owned businesses are offering deals this weekend after the Black Friday rush has subsided. It’s all part of Small Business Saturday, a nationwide movement that began in 2010 as a way to help local stores snag some of the holiday customers.
Each year, the streets of downtown Ocean Springs are full of people who are looking to buy unique boutique items from the many small shops that fill the area.
“You could do all your Christmas shopping here, you could do all the shopping for yourself, and get presents and do everything all right on Washington Avenue and Government Street," said Jan Rideout.
Rideout owns the JLaurie Shoe Boutique and is busy preparing her shop for the heavy foot traffic that happens each year on Small Business Saturday. Her store is one of many rolling out promotions for the holiday weekend.
Shopping small has its perks. Rideout explained, “You see a curated set of items to look at rather than the big giant store where you don’t even know where to begin."
To give customers the best experience, owners have to make sure their stores are fully stocked. Alma White, owner of Leather and Pearls, says the process wasn’t always so seamless.
She reflected on her early years working in her store. “We’d be short on some things, or the store wouldn’t be stocked well enough, but now I’ve got it together after being here for five years," she said. “I’ve been at this for a while now so the stress isn’t nearly as much as it used to be."
There are plenty of others things to buy. Many retailers say Small Business Saturday downtown is a great way to show strength in numbers, giving customers more reasons to shop local.
“Ocean Springs has got a fantastic synergy and energy with all of our businesses, we all work together so well," said Katie Hinkel, owner of the Lee Tracey boutique. "This is kind of the grand finale; the holidays are here and we are ready to go.”
According to American Express, shoppers spent $13 billion on Small Business Saturday last year. This year, that number is expected to grow even higher.