Nicole Zich, owner of Sassy Girl in Green Bay’s On Broadway District, is looking forward to participating in Small Business Saturday in a few days. And she’s encouraging other businesses to follow suit.
“Participate because this day was created for you,” Zich said. “Offer some kind of special and thank the community for supporting you.”
Having recently celebrated her 10th year in business, she knows how important small businesses are to a community. The former SCORE client says that they bring flare, character, and ambiance to a community rather than the typical cookie-cutter business you might find in malls.
Tara Gokey, executive director of On Broadway, Inc., agrees. With about 150 businesses in the district, there is a wide variety of shops to attract customers.
“Small Business Saturday gives people a reason to visit,” Gokey said. “We are providing an experience and atmosphere that will draw people who might not otherwise come downtown.”
On Broadway has a Facebook page featuring specials offered at businesses, and marketing materials were provided to make it easy to take part. Specials will include everything from discounts, such as the storewide one that Sassy Girl will offer, to gifts with purchase and special events.
The main mission, Gokey says, is to give stores as much exposure as possible. Retailers, service businesses, and restaurants will take part.
“It is an opportunity to be part of the national push. The marketing is beneficial because it’s a cost-effective way for smaller businesses to piggy back on this and showcase themselves to a broader audience than they could reach on their own,” Gokey said.
Across the river, Downtown and the Oldd Main Street districts are also making plans. Brehanna Skaletski, marketing and events manager, has an area that includes over 500 businesses. The event has been promoted in the “Winter in the City” guide, on the Downtown Green Bay website (www.downtowngreenbay.com/smallbusinesssaturday), in social media, and in the weekly newsletter. Unique gift ideas are listed along with the shops where they can be purchased.
Skaletski said, “Small Business Saturday is important because without shoppers who believe in supporting local, the businesses don’t survive. The community needs to buy into supporting local businesses both on Saturday and every other day of the year to keep money local and circulating in Green Bay.”
She is hoping that customers will see the benefits of shopping at the unique businesses that make up the area, and spend time getting to know what’s available. To help with this, some of the businesses are cross-promoting.
For example, Furs of Distinction is offering a gift card to Fox Heights with a minimum purchase. Even if a shop doesn’t sell a special product, gift cards can be purchased for exercise, technology, art classes, salon services, or the like.
“Small businesses create a heartwarming atmosphere which in return creates happy employees who believe in the product,” Skaletski said. “They have great customer service, flexibility, and quality customer relationships.”
Zich says building relationships was one of the things that drew her to open a business. Not only does she treasure the relationships that have been built with customers, many of whom she knows by name, the business owners themselves are like family.
“We all talk to each other, and help each other,” she said. “We don’t look at each other as competitors; because we want to see each other succeed. By taking part in Small Business Saturday, I’m not only promoting myself, I’m promoting the entire district.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.
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