‘Shop Small’ movement gains momentum in Anchorage
Small business owners across Anchorage are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, evident by the blue “Shop Small” stickers posted on storefronts.
John Clark with Skinny Raven Sports says it’s usually the big businesses that get all the love on Black Friday.
“We’re not a big place like Best Buy,” said Clark, whose official title at Skinny Raven is prime minister of purchasing. “We don’t have 60-inch big screen TVs that we’re selling for $1,000 off.”
In 2010, to help small business compete, American Express launched its Small Business Saturday campaign, which has since transformed into a shopping holiday to promote local shops and restaurants. This year, Skinny Raven and other muni merchants have high hopes for the day after Black Friday — and it shows.
More than 30 downtown businesses have signed up for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s Shop Small campaign. That’s 10 more than last year, says ADP marketing director Penny Smythe.
“I think it’s really important to understand all of the hard work and effort that the moms and pops really put into their store,” Smythe said. “Those are the businesses and the people that help create our community.”
Clark says small businesses have heart, rooted right in Anchorage, where they’ve chosen to set up shop.
“That’s what it means to be a local — small business is what are you doing for your community, to make your community better,” he said. “And we feel real strongly about what we do to do that.”
Clark gave the upcoming Turkey Trot, Skinny Raven’s Thanksgiving 3K/5K, as an example. He says the race has gotten so popular that they needed a warm space for participants to seek shelter from the cold.
“We actually had to rent out the Dena’ina Center on a holiday,” he said. “So, on a day when there’s nothing going on in this community, we’re actually spending money in our community at the Dena’ina Center.”
Plus, Clark says, the Turkey Trot is an event to get families in Anchorage and the surrounding areas to have fun together.
“We just want to be the best local business possible,” said Clark of Skinny Raven. “And provide the best for the consumer in our store — but also for the community as well.”
Smythe says “Shop Small” started as just a tagline, but over the years the trend has caught on — even as big-business competition continues to pop up around town.
Clark says small businesses will continue catering to their fellow community members, in the hopes that their efforts are recognized not just on Small Business Saturday but every day.
Anchorage Downtown Partnership will be handing out “Shop Small” tote bags, with everything customers need to prepare them for Small Business Saturday. The tote bags will be available at Friday night’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. A map and listing of all the downtown businesses with Saturday specials is available here.