Area business hopes for a big holiday boost

Small Business Saturday theme aims to increase local shopping
By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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There’s a new old way to holiday shop this year, one that avoids crowds of buyers pushing and shoving to be among the first to snap up special deals on specially marked down merchandise. The day after Black Friday this week is designated for the second year in a row as Small Business Saturday. Not only does the observance side-step holiday shopping madness, it promotes hometown merchants. Kicked off last year as a nationwide promotion by American Express, its stated objective is to support local businesses that create jobs, “boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.” Of course, many responding shoppers will use credit cards, including American Express, the company hopes. Some retailers this week are extending their early-bird shopping hours to a minute after midnight Black Friday morning. Others will open Thanksgiving evening as they jockey for an even bigger jump on Black Friday, generally regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year. Small Business Saturday is building recognition but still is not widely known. Joe Gagliardi, president and chief executive of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, hadn’t heard of it until last week. Neither had Bobbi Eddy, owner of Not Too Shabby, a vintage-furniture and home accessories store in Historic Folsom, near the corner of Sutter and Riley streets. But when the concept was explained, she was all for it. “I think it’s a tremendous asset to have a company like American Express supporting small businesses,” she said. “There’s nothing but gratitude when someone else has the money to advertise this special day and help support you.” Not Too Shabby will be open this Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. “I think it’s excellent,” said Joan Masegian, co-owner of We Olive in the Montagno de El Dorado shopping center in El Dorado Hills, of the Small Business Saturday promotion. “I think we should try getting people to stay here in town, rather than traveling to the big malls and outlets for Thanksgiving weekend sales,” said the operator of the olive oil shop run with her husband, Ken, and son, Jacob. “We’ll probably make up special gift baskets that we will reduce in price,” Masegian said. “Whatever we choose to have as a special we’ll have for the whole Thanksgiving weekend.” We Olive’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Gagliardi at the Folsom chamber, cranked up enthusiasm when Small Business Saturday was explained to him. “Anything that helps promote small business is great,” he said. Sue Ryan, spokesperson for the city of Folsom, said the city encourages residents to support locally owned businesses “this Saturday and throughout the holidays. Our shops have much to offer and the owners need our support during these challenging economic times.” An El Dorado Hills official enthusiastically supports the endeavor. “We support Small Business Saturday 100 percent,” added Debbie Manning, president and CEO of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce. “But why support our local small businesses just one Saturday a year?”