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Chamber of Commerce helps local merchants get ready for Small Business Saturday

November 23, 2018

In Aiken and the surrounding area, merchants are preparing for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24.

To help 20 members of the Greater Aiken Chamber Commerce get ready for the shopping holiday, J. David Jameson visited them Tuesday afternoon and gave them various Small Business Saturday promotional items such as doormats, stickers, bags and buttons.

The Chamber of Commerce president and CEO went to Hibbitts Drug Co. on Main Street in New Ellenton and then headed to Aiken, where he made other stops.

“Small Business Saturday has become a really dynamic event in downtown Aiken,” Jameson said. “It’s somewhere between a family reunion and a tent revival. A lot of folks come out, walk around and support the local independent business owners. I like to tell people, ‘Enjoy Black Friday and enjoy Cyber Monday, but save some money for Small Business Saturday because our local independent merchants need you.’ ”

In an email Jameson sent out Tuesday before making his rounds, he listed the following reasons why shoppers who live here should support Small Business Saturday:

• Local businesses create jobs, boost the economy and preserve our communities.

• Local businesses are the heartbeat of America and the foundation upon which this country was built.

• Small businesses are what make our community unique.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as an American Express campaign. The concept was well received, and it gained in popularity.

Small Business Saturday now is a fixture nationwide on shopping schedule between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, produced by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion last year.

“When you shop on Small Business Saturday, your dollars are staying local and they’re supporting someone who supports your community,” said Van Smith, co-owner of the men’s clothing store Lionel Smith Ltd. in downtown Aiken. “You’re supporting someone whose kids play baseball here and take dance lessons here.”

Smith is a member of the Aiken Downtown Development Association’s board of directors. That organization, like the Chamber of Commerce, has been promoting Small Business Saturday.

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