Busy time of year
I think most of us understand that we’re entering a key part of the year for our local merchants. The fourth quarter of the year is really “make-or-break time” for lots of retailers and some service providers as well.
Our local Chamber’s Retail and Service Division certainly recognizes this so their big retail promotion is about ready to kick-off. This will be the sixth year that the Columbus Area Chamber has tied into the national observance of “Small Business Saturday” as the platform for our promotion. We use that day to launch the Columbus Holiday Giveaway.
To say the promotion has been a success would be an understatement. Every year we see a steady stream of people lined up to get their Columbus Bucks in an effort to support those local merchants. Last year, more than $60,000 in Columbus Bucks were sold that morning and the following Monday!
So why do shoppers line up early on a Saturday morning, often in some pretty cold weather, to participate? It’s probably fair to say that free money has something to do with it. During this promotion, shoppers get $10 free with every $100 in Columbus Bucks they buy. We hope there is also some aspect of supporting our local merchants that plays into it, to be sure, but we also understand that a little incentive never hurts.
Participating merchants and local banks support the promotion financially, which provides the free Columbus Bucks that creates the incentive. That gives local shoppers some extra buying power that day when you “shop small and shop local.”
From 8 a.m. to noon at Santa’s House in Frankfort Square, we’ll be selling Columbus Bucks. Since that day is the launch of the Columbus Holiday Giveaway, you’ll get those $10 free with every $100 purchase. But on Small Business Saturday, the deal gets even better. Shoppers can double their bonus because if you take your Columbus Bucks to participating merchants that day only, they will give you another 10-percent off your purchase. That means shoppers get 20-percent more buying power with their Columbus Bucks at local small businesses on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24!
We’ll be there until noon or until the stack of the free Columbus Bucks runs out, whichever comes first. Past history tells us that it’ll be close and sometimes, in fact, we do run out. So it’s probably good advice to get there earlier than later.
The national observance of Small Business Saturday was established in 2010 by American Express to be held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. We’ve been pleased to mark the day locally as the kick-off to the Chamber’s annual holiday retail promotion for most of those years.
The Chamber and our members recognize that retail is changing. For small towns like ours, the local retail community has been a cornerstone since the earliest days and we all have a vested interest in seeing that continue. Small Business Saturday and the Holiday Giveaway give all of us a platform to support that effort while getting a good deal for ourselves. That is a mutually beneficial arrangement that has translated into a successful promotion every year!
K.C. Belitz is the president of the Columbus Area Chamber Of Commerce.