AURORA, Colo. — With the holiday shopping season officially underway, small business owners are sounding an optimistic tone.
Small Business Saturday has only been around for 12 years, but it’s become increasingly important for small business owners like Stephanie Shear.
“Small Business Saturday is everything to us,” said Shear. “It directly pays staff. It feeds their kids. It feeds my cats.”
Shear is among over 50 small business owners at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
Businesses here, like small businesses elsewhere, have been preparing for Small Business Saturday for months.
“This weekend is huge, especially today on Small Business Saturday. This is the crucial time of the year for retailers in particular in small businesses,” said Ally Fredeen, general manager of Stanley Marketplace.
To lure more shoppers to Stanley Marketplace this weekend, Fredeen says they pulled out all the stops.
“We’ve been preparing for months. We always like to program heavily whether it’s visits from Santa, carolers, tote bag giveaways designed by local kids in our community, holiday silent disco, the list goes on,” said Fredeen. “We want people to really feel the fun, energy and all of the activities they can do while they visit here.”
Despite challenges with inflation, the National Retail Federation still expects a healthy increase in holiday sales this year as Americans dip into their savings and use credit to purchase holiday gifts.
David Lewis, who co-owns Miette et Chocolat, said if shoppers are worried about inflation, they don’t seem to be showing it.
“We’re pretty steady, consistent with last year. We’ve actually seen a little uptick in business from last year, so I think we’ve continued to get busier as time goes on,” said Lewis.
Last year, Americans spent a record $23 billion on Small Business Saturday last year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
It’s not clear how this year will compare with last year, but small business owners like Shear are optimistic.
“There’s lots of talk about a recession and that kind of thing,” said Shear. “But people are coming out supporting your small business and we could not be more grateful.”