Morgantown promotes Small Business Saturday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Tucked in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday shoppers are growing in numbers.

“Last year, American Express reported 95 million went out to shop small at small businesses,” said Nikki Bowmar, public affairs specialist with the WV District of U.S. Small Business Administration. “That was an 8% increase over 2014.”

The pace is different on Small Business Saturday after the unofficial kick-off to Christmas season shopping is now beginning with bargains on Thanksgiving Day.

“We have some small business owners that said the bottom line is customer service. When you’re at the box stores, they don’t care so much that you had a really good experience whereas the small business owner, all they talk about is making sure their customer is happy no matter what,” Karen Friel said.  Friel is a district director for the Small Business Administration.

Of the 420 businesses that are part of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, chamber director Jason Pizatella said more than two-third of them are considered small businesses.

“Whether you’re looking to buy chocolates or flowers or you’re looking to buy something for a stocking, it’s in Morgantown and it’s local whether it’s High Street, Seneca Center, downtown, you don’t have to go to a shopping mall and you don’t have to go online.”

Friel said 2 out of 3 new private sector jobs in the United States are created by small businesses.

More and more, shoppers are spending their money locally.

“Total spending among U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reached $16.2 billion. That’s an increase of 14% over 2014.”

As business literally picks up, Pizatella said this year’s Small Business Saturday shoppers have the ability to influence next year’s potential consumers.

“When you finish shopping, dine local. Stop at one of our local merchants and buy a gift card or gift certificate for that special someone.”

More than 1,450 communities joined forces last year through their local chamber or similar group to promote local shopping on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Parking in downtown Morgantown is free through 8 a.m. Monday, November 28.