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Milford Beacon
  • Small Business Saturday boosts exposure, encourages shopping small

  • Settling in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is encouraging local shoppers to add familiarity to their purchasing of products and services.
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  • Settling in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is encouraging local shoppers to add familiarity to their purchasing of products and services.
    With an influx of new stores opening shop downtown and the coming of Santa this weekend, Small Business Saturday is just one more way to direct consumers’ attention to the novelty of shopping local.
    Individual retailers have an option to participate in Small Business Saturday to any extent, including discounts on gift certificates, like Irish Rose, or products and services, like Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga, but the day is also about the consumer.
    American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, and offers its cardholders perks in return for shopping locally, like a matched $10 for every $10 spent with a qualifying downtown merchant.
    But for local business owner Jack Sceaffer, his participation in the event is intended as a reminder that his specialized services are still available, 25 years after opening his cycling shop.
    “I provide a service no one else has,” said Sceaffer, also known as “The Wheel Doctor.” People deal with me not because of price, but because of service.”
    His store on North Walnut Street, Bikes Etc., will offer a 10-percent discount on bikes and stocked items, as well as a 5-percent discount on all cash purchases, the same as he will for the upcoming Holiday Stroll on Friday, Dec. 6.
    Sceaffer still looks to meet the needs of his customers, and hopes they will remember him as a local merchant with a knowledge of cycling in addition to a downtown storefront when shopping for a child’s new bike or accessory.
    “The small business is a specialty shop and they’re the ones who provide opportunities to shop downtown because you can’t find the same services and experiences anywhere else,” he said.
    Michael Becker, owner of Riverside Antiques Mall, believes that it’s the exposure of Milford’s small businesses that’s key during the holiday shopping season, and that Small Business Saturday is a way to remind local shoppers that they don’t have to go to a bigger city or a mall to find what they’re looking for.
    “It’s about promoting the awareness that there are still small businesses in these quaint little towns,” Becker said. “It’s about the awareness and exposure, and hopefully it will be a profitable day.”
    According to the Small Business Saturday map available at shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com, there are 15 participating restaurants, 35 retail merchants, three entertainment venues and 30 other qualifying merchants in Milford offering services, from mechanics to a nail salon, all offering a variety of perks with the coming of the holiday shopping season.
    Page 2 of 2 - Diane Laird, the state coordinator for DEDO’s Downtown Delaware, said the variety of shops found in Milford can offer local consumers a truly personalized holiday shopping experience.
    “Downtown Milford has more than 40 retail shops, restaurants, and fine personal care services featuring a broad array of fine art, upscale apparel, unique home accessories, and fantastic food,” Laird said. “ These innovative downtown businesses offer personalized services, niche products, and an inviting character in which shoppers can enjoy a fun, unique, local shopping experience - all while investing in their local economy.
    “Downtown businesses can enjoy promotion and, more importantly, sales on a broad scale through Small Business Saturday, which encourages shoppers to consider, first, their local small businesses.”
    Downtown Milford, Inc. Executive Director Lee Nelson agreed and said the day also allows each business to individualize what they decide to offer. As Santa will be arriving in Milford that same day, Nelson said that most, if not all, downtown stores will be open and offering a variety of perks to local customers.
    “This is national attention that’s locally focused,” Nelson said. “It’s an opportunity to have individuals focus on downtown. Obviously we encourage people to come and shop downtown all the time, but this is a national movement and to get that national exposure is very helpful. It fits very well with our message and focus of shopping locally.”
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