Area businesses see bumps in sales during Small Business Saturday

Published on Tuesday, 30 November 2021 17:55
Written by Dean Wright


Area businesses said they saw bumps in sales during Small Business Saturday, but the pandemic and large online retail options still pose challenges for them.

“It was very busy Saturday. Actually the whole weekend was busy,” said Amato’s Toy and Hobby owner Steve Amato. “People are interested in getting back out there and what we heard from a lot of people was they want to support (local business).”

Amato said that his business has adapted over the years and focused on customer service, product knowledge and cultivating a loyal customer base.

“I’ve got people bringing in their grandkids who came in when they were kids,” he said. “You become friends. You know them and they know us. They know they can trust us. We’re in it for the long haul. I don’t want to just make a sale today and have someone be mad tomorrow.”

The business proprietor said that part of small business successes comes from the individual “personalities” that those businesses create in their communities.

As a new business, Garden at Pinehurst Farm owner Dina Merrow said she is optimistic about the future. She said she felt there was a good showing at the business Saturday and she is pushing to continue networking with other businesses in hopes of attracting more foot traffic, both for her colleagues and herself.

Quo Vadis owners Mieczyslaw and Krystyna Obara said small businesses have it harder in a world that seems to become ever more geared more towards large business internet sales. Quo Vadis is a gift shop that imports Polish and handmade products. It also provides money transfer services through Western Union.

“It’s not easy,” said Krystyna. “But now it’s a little better and people are coming back. We’ve put out many business cards and people come to the store for the Christmas ornaments. We’ve been in business 24 years and everybody knows us. In 1997, we opened.”

Krystyna said in the last year the Obara business had to place an order for Polish imports five months in advance before they reached the store. She said the business plans to order goods a year in advance for the following holiday season as it is taking products long to reach them. Despite the challenges, they continue to see loyal customers returning.

Small Business Saturday was launched by the American Express credit card company as a means of encouraging consumers to shop locally in part due to the pressures of the late 2000s and early 2010s recession.

According to the American Express 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, independent retailers and restaurants saw customers spend around $23.3 billion across the country. The number is up 18% from $19.8 billion in 2020 and displayed an increase in pre-covid spending. Reported online shopping showed 58% of customers making an online purchase in comparison to 56% in 2020.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 30 November 2021 17:55. Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2021 17:58.