Local shops, artists gearing up for Small Business Saturday
MADISON COUNTY—It may be only mid-November, but thoughts are already turning toward Christmas as snow begins to fly and Thanksgiving travel plans are made. And with those plans comes the onset of holiday shopping.
While Black Friday has been a post-Thanksgiving staple for years, Small Business Saturday is a more recent creation, encouraging people to forego larger box stores and turn toward supporting the local businesses in their own communities. First observed in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become a sizable driver for local economies in recent years.
Locally-owned businesses around Madison County will be open for Small Business Saturday this year, which will take place on November 24. In Ennis, businesses around town will be collaborating to participate in a Small Business Saturday event, supplying attendees with passport-style booklets to make sure they can visit all the businesses open for the day.
Many local shops, galleries and other businesses will offer discounts or deals as incentives to keep holiday shoppers buying local. Ennis’s Main Street event will include desserts at the Chamber of Commerce and extended hours at many businesses.
Chelsee Mahsman, manager at Right Angles on Ennis’s Main Street, has been organizing the Small Business Saturday event for two years now. Last year, she says 14 businesses around town participated in the passport program, which encourages shoppers to visit as many of the participating stores as possible.
Mahsman surveyed the owners of the participating businesses after last year’s event, and says that across the board, the response was positive. Every single business said they’d noticed more shoppers that usual, including many visitors who had never come in before. That includes Mahsman’s own business, Right Angles, and Plain Jane’s next door.
“I think it just helps keep our community local,” she says. “And I think the more we can do all together to keep people shopping around here rather than going to Bozeman or somewhere else, the better for the whole community.”
Mahsman hopes to have between 15 and 20 businesses involved in this year’s Small Business Saturday celebration. Shoppers can pick up their passports at Plain Jane’s, and everyone who picks up stamps from 80 percent or more of the participating businesses will be entered to win prizes at the end of the day—the more stamps you get, the more chances you have to win.
Once shoppers are done, they can drop off their passports at the Ennis Senior Center and partake of a community dessert social from 4:30-6 p.m. Mahsman hopes that through community involvement and events like this one, Small Business Saturday will continue to grow, keeping Madison County’s local businesses and economy vibrant and thriving.