RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond retailers hope you'll think local when it comes to some of your holiday shopping. Carytown merchants are starting a special marketing campaign to bring in customers as part of the first annual national Small Business Saturday.
The witty slogan the Carytown Merchants' Association is using is: "Shop Carytown on Black Saturday because Friday is so yesterday!" It is hoping the campaign will bring shoppers to "the mile of style" after they've exhausted the sales at the malls and big box stores on Black Friday.
President Bob Broomfield said the idea is backed up by research. When you look at the sales figures, the Friday after Thanksgiving simply doesn't do it for these locally owned shops.
"When I drove down Cary Street at 930am last Black Friday, I say you can shoot a cannon down the middle of Cary Street and not hit anything," he said.
That's because shoppers like Ellen Miller are getting out of the house early and hitting large chain stores to get the best deals.
"We have a list and we shop for each other's families and so we are very specific about what we want to go get and get sales," she explained.
She said spending the day at one mall is more convenient.
"You park the car," she explained. "You go in one entrance and you work your way down and you don't have to worry about coming out, moving your car to another place, getting back out."
Broomfield knows Carytown can't compete in that sense. So the Black Saturday event, advertised on flyers and billboards, will feature deep discounts and sales to go along with the Small Business Saturday movement. That's organized by American Express and offers incentives for shopping locally.
For example on that Saturday, if you make a purchase at a locally owned shop that accepts American Express, you'll be eligible for $25 rebate on your statement.
"I think any incentives this time of the year with people being much more careful with their money and wanting to do the right thing, that's a very strong incentive," said Broomfield.
He's hoping customers like Miller will head to Carytown when they have more items to cross off their lists.
"Where you're trying to match someone's habits or interests with some sort of unique gifts that they might not buy themselves or you might not just be able to find anywhere," she said.