Small Business Saturday gaining traction in Grand Junction

More than 100 local businesses will take part today in the second annual Small Business Saturday.

American Express initiated Small Business Saturday last year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The credit-card company will load $25 onto the American Express card of any customer who registers at https://sync.americanexpress.com/sbs2011 before spending at least $25 today at a participating small business. A list of participating businesses is available by ZIP code at Facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.

Co-owner Jerry Sica of Crossroads Wine & Spirits, 611 24 Road, said he decided to participate in Small Business Saturday at the suggestion of another local business, Blue Fin Creative Group.

“It’s like getting a free shot at $25,” Sica said. “There’s not much to dislike about this program. Everyone’s going to be out shopping anyway on a Saturday. They might a well take advantage of the free credit.”

Sica said small businesses could always use an extra boost from a program like Small Business Saturday. Even though alcohol is considered “recession-proof,” Sica said people aren’t spending as much on their total liquor-store bills.

“Our sales of Budweiser have skyrocketed,” he said.

Carla Bruton, owner of Kairo’s at 533 Main St., said not a lot of people knew about Small Business Saturday last year. Some still don’t know about it this year. But she believes more people will participate in Small Business Saturday than last year, thanks to word of mouth and more advertising.

Charlene Watson, area retail manager for Enstrom Candies at 701 Colorado Ave., said she believes Small Business Saturday will catch on more in years to come. She said the program helps both American Express and companies participating in the day, including Enstrom Candies.

“We accept American Express, so we thought why not participate?” Watson said.

Bruton she said she likes that businesses are banding together for a special day, and she hopes it gets more people to explore local shops instead of browsing for gifts online this weekend.

“I don’t want to say you need to shop local, but I appreciate people shopping local,” Bruton said.

Downtown Grand Junction will have free carriage rides and a strolling Santa from noon to 2 p.m. today to mark Small Business Saturday and will have the same offerings every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 18.


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