KATONAH, N.Y. – Small Business Saturday sits smack in the middle of the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year, between the chaotic big box bargain hunting of Black Friday and the glut of deals from online retailers on Cyber Monday.
Several stores in Katonah's downtown shopping district participated in Saturday's event, which is dedicated to driving sales to small businesses on what is already shoppers' busiest weekend.
Some of these stores, like Katonah Art and Frame, saw results through advertising special sales. Mary Mayland, owner of Baxter & Co. Home, was offering 50 percent off all vintage and antique furnishings and accessories sold at the store that day. She said shoppers had been coming in all day and asking about Small Business Saturday deals.
A survey of small businesses on Katonah Avenue, some of which advertised the event on Facebook and others, like Toney Toni and the Gang, who put up signs outside their stores, reflected varying results for the marketing initiative. At about 3 p.m., the crowds on the streets appeared to equal that of an average Saturday, but it was clear the holiday spirit was in the air as groups of friends ambled from store to store. Some came to preview the holiday selection; others were there to hunt for the season's first bargains.
Saturday's event was established to stimulate the local economy and act as a vehicle of consumer support for small businesses and for their owners who create jobs and provide services.
This year, the Katonah Chamber of Commerce helped promote the national event, which is now in its third year. It began in 2010 when American Express launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign with the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall.
Last year, more than 100 million people came out to shop at independently owned small businesses. As an incentive to go out and shop, American Express gives its customers the opportunity to enroll their American Express card to get $25 back when they spend $25 or more at qualifying small business locations.