Bye-Bye Black Friday, Hello Small Business Saturday in Downtown Ocean City
Black Friday is all about about getting malled at the big box stores. This Saturday is geared to shopping in places such as Ocean City's downtown, filled with small independent businesses.
Black Friday, the shopping event started by department stores in Philadelphia and New York and appropiated by big box retailers, is thankfully over.
Ocean City merchants, who never see huge business on Black Friday, are poised for their shopping day, though: Small Business Saturday.
The credit card company, American Express, created the event as a promotiion to assist small business partners, even offering cash back when their card is used at participating merchants.
"It is an important promotion for small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the community," said Lauren Esposito, owner of Colette, a fashion boutique on Asbury Avenue.
"There's no heart in businesses elsewhere, outside downtowns. Our employees are like family, there is a graciousness to working and shopping here. Small businesses help the community more than anything. If I need a piece of hardware, I go to Wallace's (a venerable Asbury Avenue hardware store) first, not a drive to (Home) Depot."
Like many participating businesses, such as Sun Rose Words and Music, Colette is offering a 20 percent discount as part of the promotion, said Esposito. That means giving up some profit, but that's hopefully offset by making more over all sales, she said.
While not running a discount tied into the day, Paul Francis Cunningham expects Saturday to be a better shopping day than Friday as local customers search for gifts for themselves and others in a more relaxed atmosphere, without the Friday frenzy.
In other words, folks like Peggy and Sarah Shepherd, who were out shopping Friday, but who intended to do more buying Saturday.
Marlton residents with a second home in Ocean City, the Shepherds make a habit of shopping the downtown because they like the small town appeal. Peggy already had a list of stops going in her head, including a stop to buy something for their three-month old boxer, Lucy.
The pup was already in the spirit, decked out in a wreath bought from a small Asbury Avenue business catering to dogs -- and their owners.