Small Business Saturday was a success for Western Tidewater

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

by Amanda Jarratt

Long lines and a lack of parking … normally these things would have a negative connotation but they were great signs of a successful Small Business Saturday! This year 26 local small businesses participated in Small Business Saturday from Franklin, Courtland, Ivor, Boykins to Capron — these stores were busy with holiday shoppers. Families strolled the streets of Downtown Franklin, and stopped to shop in Southampton County all day long. I saw first-hand the hustle of bustle of Small Business Saturday in Franklin and Southampton, and based on research released this week the same was true across the country.

Pictured above at Mackans: Scottie Phillips, Sarah Neal Phillips, and Maggie Phillips — SUBMITTED

Based on a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express roughly 112 million spent money on Small Business Saturday up nearly 13 percent from 2015. The survey found that more consumers than ever (58 percent) are aware of Small Business Saturday, and 48 percent of them said they expected to spend more on Small Business Saturday this year than in 2015. Sixty-seven percent of respondents planned to spend at least $100 on the day, up from 65 percent last year. The survey noted that 89 percent of consumers said that Small Business Saturday encourages them to shop small year-round, not just during the holiday season, and 79 percent of consumers say they are willing to pay slightly more for an item if it is purchased from a small, independently owned retailer.

Black Friday is a prime example of when big box retailers can sometimes have the upper hand, they can slash prices and take steep discounts for the masses and it will hardly affect their bottom line. But our local small businesses don’t follow the same business model as these well-known retail chains. Hence, why the economic development office acts as the Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday and promotes the event each year. We believe in supporting our local small businesses and truly appreciate those to join us in the effort to shop small.

Small businesses across the country, and especially in Franklin and Southampton are run by our friends, family, and neighbors. Supporting them is personal and critical to their success and survival in our community. Based on the feedback we received from local businesses from the region this past weekend was a huge success, so thank you for those that took the time to shop small.

If you haven’t taken a moment to patronize some of our local retailers recently quite a surprise is in store for you. Many have new and unique product lines that will make the perfect gift for that special someone. While it may be easy to get cozy with a blanket by the fire in your p.j.’s and order from Amazon (or insert your favorite big box retailer) your efforts to shop local truly change our economy.

As you are compiling your final Christmas shopping lists, be sure to take a moment to check that list twice and see what can be purchased from one of our local small businesses in Franklin or across Southampton County. They are depending on our support.

#ShopLocal #ShopSmallFS

Amanda Jarratt is the CEO and president of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. She can be reached at or 562-1958.