Locally-owned Anchorage stores brace for ‘Small Business Saturday’
Although Black Friday had a low turnout in Anchorage this year, many local businesses say they’re banking on Saturday sales.
“‘Small Business Saturday’ is always the big push, people come out in full force which is awesome, we appreciate that, completely,” said Annie Ciszak Pazar, owner of Bella Boutique in Spenard. “You know they call it Black Friday because it puts businesses in the black. Well small businesses, this time of year we need that as well. So all of this anti-holiday backlash is kinda hard to hear because it’s like we want to stick around and this is how we do that.”
Ciszak Pazar said she knows her store can’t compete on price, but hoped people will look beyond the numbers.
“It’s really about not going to the bookstore, scanning the code and then ordering it online, maybe you’re paying a dollar or two more to buy it in person but these are your friends, these are your neighbors, this is someone’s livelihood,” Ciszak Pazar said. “That dollar or two is going to pay for someone’s child’s college education, not some CEO’s sports car.”
To try to get new customers in the door this year, Bella’s Boutique is offering goodie bags, valued between $30 and $50, for the first 20 people. The store will also serve homebaked treats. And they’re not the only store using food to draw crowds.
Anchorage Yamaha said this year their also trying something new.
“We’re gonna have free pizza, free lunch, free drinks from Monster Energy,” said Andrew Smith, co-owner of the store.
Smith said if he can sell five to 10 units — whether they’re snowmachines or ATVs — he’ll be able to call this year’s small business Saturday a success.
“We have a lot of product that hasn’t moved,” Smith said, noting wet weather has led to low sales the past few seasons.
Ciszak Pazar said she thinks weather has played a role in her sales too.
“The thing that I think all small businesses, regardless, are dealing with is online shopping, especially with the winter being so crazy. We don’t necessarily have a winter per say, so people don’t necessarily get into the holiday spirit if they don’t see snow, ” she said. “Then suddenly it snows and everyone goes to Amazon, and we’re like, ‘No, no we’re here don’t go to Amazon, go to us!'”
Other local stores said they won’t be offering treats, but will still have big sales.
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