By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

In most cities throughout the country, next week will mark the beginning of lots of holiday activity, and Shinnston will be no exception.  Thanksgiving Day is next Thursday and before feasting on turkey and the trimmings, many will be participating in the early morning Turkey Trot in Shinnston.  This will be followed by Black Friday, a day when tolerant shoppers begin to take advantage of sales and waiting lines to begin making Christmas list purchases.  But don’t allow this to overshadow the next day – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY … which is an increasingly popular day for those who enjoy shopping locally!

Small Business Saturday originated in 2010 as a way to show support for small business owners in local communities.  And don’t let anyone fool you; it’s a BIG day!  “Shopping Small” last year generated an estimated 15.4 BILLION dollars across the country.

Small Business Saturday is strongly endorsed by American Express, and according to Shinnston Community Development Director AJ Hammond, American Express has sent lots of free marketing materials to be used to promote this day.

“People have probably noticed in recent years the popular blue and white ‘Shop Small’ and “Shop Local’ logos.  We’re planning to paint our town blue and white next Saturday to celebrate this day.  Those passing through our community who notice the blue and white banners and balloons need to stop and visit our local participating merchants,” Hammond said.

Small, independently owned businesses and restaurants are great contributors to local economies.  And it is important to remember that while shopping online on Cyber Monday, for example, may be convenient for some, none of the dollars you spend remain locally … whereas when you shop small, the bulk of the money you spend and most of your tax dollars remain right in your own neighborhoods, helping schools, paving streets, keeping you safe, and strengthening your own community.  Creating a more vibrant community is also considered an asset in elevating property values in local communities!

“Small Business Saturday is a great program that American Express promotes and we are happy to have our City involved with it,” Hammond added.  “A large percentage of our state’s economic income is derived from small businesses so it is our goal to help promote the small businesses right here in Shinnston.  We’re hoping to have our streets decorated for the holiday in time for Small Business Saturday, and we have some special visitors coming as well who will make the day even more special.”

Guess who’s coming to town?  Santa Claus, accompanied by Mrs. Claus, will be in Shinnston most of the day next Saturday, and they will be visiting several of the local businesses on Pike Street.   Plan to stop by and make them feel welcome during their visit!  They will be at Shabby Chic Sisters from 11 a.m. until noon; at Casey’s Restaurant from noon to 1 p.m.; at Like New Upscale Resale Shoppe from 1 to 2 p.m.; at DeMarco’s Meat Market from 2 to 3 p.m.; and their final stop will be at Home Style from 3 to 4 p.m.

And that’s not all!  Jason Young’s Vintage Theatre Company will be making a stop in Shinnston as well on Small Business Saturday.  Don’t be surprised to see them strolling down Pike Street caroling in costume and perhaps evoking some nostalgia from days of yore!

“We are very pleased to have them visit in Shinnston from 11 a.m. until noon on Small Business Saturday and we hope that people will enjoy this special treat,” Hammond added.  “It’s something new Vintage Theatre has just started doing and something a little different that will add a nice touch to the day.  They will also be returning to Shinnston on the evening of our community’s Christmas parade, and we’re excited about that as well.”

Amanda Sayers, store manager at Home Style in Shinnston, said, “Small Business Saturday is our best day of the year!  People come from all over – not just local Shinnston shoppers – to visit our store on Small Business Saturday.  Our Urban Market located right next door will be open that day too.  We’re expecting to be very busy that day and have even expanded our hours until 7 p.m. to accommodate everyone.   We have also called in some former employees to pitch in that day so that we can better  handle the extra traffic and be able to give personal attention to our customers.”

If holiday shopping is on your agenda for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, plan to Shop Local in Shinnston!