By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
While Black Friday marks a time when shoppers hunt for bargains at big-box stores and malls, small and independent retailers in Northeastern Pennsylvania are gearing up for the following day.
Small Business Saturday, which will be on Nov. 26 this year, has become a day to attract customers at the beginning of the busy holiday shopping season.
The nationally celebrated day, conceived and promoted by American Express, has been observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010. The day encourages consumers to shop locally.
More than 20 businesses in downtown Wilkes-Barre are participating in the seventh annual Small Business Saturday promotion, organized by the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, the Diamond City Partnership and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber.
Participating businesses include Knot Just Any Day, a small business started last year at 124 S. Main St. in Wilkes-Barre by young professionals Steve Husted and Bridget Giunta Husted.
The business provides photography, video and graphic design services as well as handmade decor for weddings and events.
Recently, Knot Just Any Day started selling greeting cards and customers will receive a dollar off cards purchased on Small Business Saturday, Mr. Husted said. He said he thinks Small Business Saturday is a great day and he sees customers gets excited over it.
“It gets people to see what they have in their community,” Mr. Husted said. “There are a lot great businesses downtown that are mom and pop shops that have grown over the last year. It’s nice to see businesses come and stay in the downtown.”
The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Public Square will serve as a hub for the day of festivities and will host a holiday art market and a tree-lighting ceremony where local families can help decorate the tree. Santa also will make an appearance.
Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, said information about Small Business Saturday can be found on the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association’s Facebook page. There also will be a link on the Diamond City Partnership’s website.
Mr. Newman said Small Business Saturday is important “because we live in an age where there is more competition for consumer attention than ever before and it is a very crowded marketplace.”
“What we in downtown really like about Small Business Saturday is that it is a national day that is dedicated to supporting our community’s small independent businesses that is backed by a brand that can cut through so much of the clutter,” Mr. Newman said. “The fact that people recognize Small Business Saturday as a thing, as an event, as a day, there is power to that.”