Small Business Saturday draws crowds


Catherine Sauer, 15, left, and Miranda Sauer look at gift items at Southbank Gift Company during the afternoon of Small Business Saturday. Business was brisk on the day designated to encourage shoppers to support local stores that support the community.

Catherine Sauer, 15, left, and Miranda Sauer look at gift items at Southbank Gift Company during the afternoon of Small Business Saturday. Business was brisk on the day designated to encourage shoppers to support local stores that support the community. Katie Alaimo/News Tribune

For Diane Luebbering of Wardsville, the highlight of Small Business Saturday was finding that unique necklace for her grandmother for Christmas.

She found it at Saffees.

“I decided to shop today because I need to get Christmas shopping done,” she said. “I love to shop local because everyone is so helpful, and they’re willing to order things for you.”

John Pelzer, owner of Busch’s Florist, said his shop had a brisk, steady stream of shoppers as soon as it opened at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“They’re looking for the unique items not sold in the the big box stores,” he said.

More than 30 local businesses participated in Small Business Saturday in Jefferson City. In addition to the shopping, the day included the opportunity for children to visit with Santa at Central Bank’s High Street location. A trolley also took shoppers to the small businesses located around the city.

Jill Bednar, owner of Southbank Gift Company, said Saturday afternoon that Small Business Saturday had already proven to be a success for her business.

“A lot of people have been saying they’re thankful for small businesses,” she said. “I feel customers are making a concerted effort to shop local.”

She said shopping local is beneficial because all the money spent stays local.

“We never want to lose the downtown flavor that keeps the downtown going,” Bednar said of small downtown businesses. “It’s the heart of the city and it needs to continue thriving.”

She also said that a lot of times, it’s the small, local businesses that donate to local causes and sponsor various events and projects.

“When they want a donation, we know what the community needs,” Bednar said. “It’s important to remember those places you go to (for donations), and go back and say thank you by shopping at those locations.”

Ann Slay, owner of American Shoe, believes Small Business Saturday is a wonderful concept.

“It has brought to people’s attention that there’s more than just department stores and online,” she said.

Saffees owner Judy Howard said shopping local is key to Jefferson City’s growth.

“The money doesn’t leave town and that’s how the town grows,” she said.

Accompanying photo: Catherine Sauer and Miranda Sauer look at gift items

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