Shop Small Saturday is Becoming Bigger Than Black Friday in Owensboro
I can't believe Thanksgiving is already a week away, and that means so is Black Friday. Considered in most states as the biggest shopping day of the year, it is often associated with long lines forming in the wee hours of the morning. Some consider it the kick-off to Holiday shopping.
In the past, it also meant brawls among customers vying for the best deals or the hot toy of the year. One of the wildest stories that you've probably heard, happened back in 1983 when mayhem broke out as mothers snatched and grabbed Cabbage Patch dolls for their kiddos. It was a different time, for sure! Luckily, in recent years, the chaos has calmed down on Black Friday due to various reasons including online shopping, COVID, etc.
Here in Owensboro, however, the day AFTER Black Friday has become a huge shopping day thanks to a collaboration between the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and Independence Bank. Here are the amazing Chamber Shop Owensboro Elves stuffing a sea of coveted green shopping bags!
Julia Kimbrell, Events Coordinator with the Chamber said, “We are thrilled to partner with Independence Bank again this year for Shop Owensboro! The week-long event will encourage the community and surrounding region to support our local businesses in Owensboro in a BIG way! We look forward to this initiative every year, and we are grateful to Independence Bank for their partnership, and all that they do in our community!”
Shop Small Saturday has grown exponentially over the past decade and from my experience, it blows Black Friday out of the water.
This year on November 25th, the event officially begins at 9:00 AM when 500 green shopping bags will be distributed at Independence Bank. Each year, no matter the weather, folks line up to get one because the bags are filled with swag. Some of them have gift cards from participating businesses if you're lucky! They also contain the official Shop Small Bingo card.
You take your Bingo card to the local stores and restaurants listed ( keep scrolling for a handy map and addresses,) do your shopping, and receive stamps to fill the squares. You can accomplish your mission all on Saturday if you want or keep it for the next couple of weeks to work on. Once you have a Bingo, just take it down to the Chamber Office and you'll be entered to win a gift card from one of the Shop Small businesses.
I used to work at a local gift shop/art studio called Studio Slant and we would begin preparations the day after Halloween to be ready for the swarm of Shop Small shoppers. Special Christmas decorations and merchandise, sales, and an array of delicious food and drinks for people to enjoy. We even invited area vendors and artists to make personalized ornaments. I would play double duty setting up my art and jewelry and my sales from the day made sure Rollins had a magical Christmas that year.
Like every participating local business, it was one of our most successful days of the year! It was absolutely insane the amount of gifts we would wrap, but it was a blast. So many folks stopped by to support our passion for spreading joy in Owensboro.
One of my friends, Jenifer Wiggins, always came by with her family. They have made it an annual tradition to participate and make the rounds to all of the area's small businesses. "We have been part of this from the beginning. My mom stays longer in town for Thanksgiving just to do the shop small. I feel like it’s so important to invest in this community that I teach in. We love talking to the store owners and seeing them every year. I love knowing the people who benefit from what I spend."
She is spot on! Studies have shown that when we shop locally, more of our money stays in the community. I can speak from experience that it means the world to business owners to have support from friends and neighbors. Not only does it inspire them to persevere through the hardships of owning their own businesses, but your dollars are going directly to their families. To buy Christmas presents for their kids, to pay for dance lessons, and to put food on their tables.
Owensboro and the surrounding area are blessed to have so many amazing family-owned shops and restaurants. Here is the official map of the ones participating in Shop Owensboro this Small Business Saturday.
LOOK: Holiday gift crazes and fads of the past century
Gallery Credit: Jennnifer Billock