Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and some Aiken retailers, merchants, services and restaurants are depending on it.
The coronavirus pandemic has walloped the U.S. economy and has pushed many small businesses over the edge – or very close to it. Restaurants and retailers were hit particularly hard as earlier lockdowns took effect.
“This time of the year, right now from Small Business Saturday to Christmas Eve, are big, important months,” Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO J. David Jameson said Wednesday. “And, I fear some of our independent retailers are just holding on.”
Most chamber members employ just a handful of people: neighbors, friends, people seen around the city and throughout the county.
“So, we are a community made up of small businesses,” the chamber president said, “and some of these businesses have really, really struggled this year.”
The Yelp Economic Impact report, published in September, found that some 163,700 businesses had closed in the U.S. since the beginning of March, around the start of the pandemic.
Small Business Saturday was first observed years ago as a counterpart to frenetic Black Friday and online-savvy Cyber Monday, both of which draw crowds and clicks to big-box stores and multibillion-dollar companies.
Jameson emphasized that Small Business Saturday extends beyond the often-thought-of boutique or clothing store: “It’s broader than just the independent retailers, who you think of,” he said. “We’ve got small restaurants that need help. We have other kinds of small businesses that need support.”
Restaurants and caterers can be supported by buying gift cards or grabbing a meal to go. If you’re looking to do some home improvement, Jameson added, hire a local team.