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Local businesses ready for Small Business Saturday
Record number of shoppers gearing up for event
new deh small biz Saturday pic
Local businesses are ready to observe Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 along with merchants nationwide. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Russell Area Plaid Friday promotes local shopping

RUSSELL – The Friday after Thanksgiving means Black Friday to most, but several locally owned businesses in Russell are urging shoppers to celebrate Plaid Friday instead. Plaid Friday is an alternative to the chaos of Black Friday, and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

Plaid Friday was first celebrated in 2009 in Oakland, Calif., a city known for strong shop local campaigns. The Plaid Friday movement is growing across the nation, and even more so in the Russell area. Hosted by Encore Antiques and Collectables since 2010, Russell Area Plaid Friday continues to grow from the first community-wide event in 2014. 

Russell County Economic Development and Convention and Visitors Bureau stepped in to support the local Plaid Friday efforts by providing a limited number of plaid shopping bags filled with goodies and local information. Shopping bags will be available at Encore Antiques and Collectables starting at 10 a.m. In addition to the shopping bag, individuals will receive the Russell Area Plaid Friday 2015 Shop Sheet, outlining bargains and special offers from 20 participating Plaid Friday retailers.

“At Encore, we encourage folks to wear plaid when they’re out and about as a visible reminder to think local first,” said Sheryl Krug, co-owner of Encore Antiques and Collectables and local Plaid Friday coordinator. “On Plaid Friday at Encore, we offer discounts to all shoppers, but reward those shoppers wearing plaid with a gift.” 

Other Russell retailers will be offering a variety of discounts and promotions. 

“The name Plaid Friday was conceived from the idea of weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric celebrating the diversity and creativity of independent businesses,” Krug said. “By shifting 10 percent of all holiday spending to locally-owned and independent businesses, our local communities receive a true holiday gift.”

 All 30 of the Explore Great Bend Stores are open and ready for business for Small Business Saturday, said Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. These merchants are not alone.

Black Friday might be the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but a survey released today by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express shows that a record number of shoppers plan to shop local on that day.

“I feel it’s important to embrace local shopping not only because it grows our local economy but because in Great Bend we have tons of great gifts, necessities and overall bargains,” Hayes said. “I read somewhere that if each of us spent $100 more in local businesses it would put an extra 1.5 million per year in our economy.” 

She said she’s done the math for Great Bend and it does add up.

The survey said a record 55 percent of U.S. consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday, while 83 percent say Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop local and shop small all year long.

“That’s really encouraging,” said Dan Murray, Kansas state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “When you shop local and shop small, you’re supporting your community. When you shop at a chain store, most of the money goes back to some corporate office somewhere else, but when you support small, most of that money stays here at home.”

According to the fourth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey:

• 80 percent of consumers are willing to pay slightly more for an item if it is purchased from a small, independently-owned retailer as opposed to online or at a large retailer 

• On average, consumers are planning to do 35 percent of their holiday shopping at small businesses 

• 45 percent of consumers who expect to shop on the day plan to spend more on Small Business Saturday this year than they spent last year 

• Almost two-thirds (64 percent ) of consumers who plan to shop on Small Business Saturday are motivated by the contributions that small businesses make to their community

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for most of the jobs in this country, and small businesses create most of America’s net new jobs.

“You probably don’t know the owner of a big department store, but there’s a good chance you know a few small-business owners,” Murray said. “They’re your friends and neighbors. They’re some of the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity. They’re what make our communities strong.”

What’s more, small businesses often sell merchandise — and provide a level of service — that you simply can’t find at a chain store, he said. “Instead of dealing with temporary workers who don’t know the merchandise, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing directly with the owner who cares very much about making you happy so you’ll come back time and again throughout the year.”

“Our businesses work very hard to support our community and help it thrive,” said Hayes, echoing these sentiments. “This day is dedicated to support them back and see what all our stores have to offer.”

The Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey was conducted anonymously among a nationally representative sample of 1,847 males and females 18 years of age or older from Oct. 19-27. The sample was collected using an email invitation and an online survey. 

To learn more about what NFIB is doing to help small businesses promote the sales event, visit