Support Shore Businesses on Small Business Saturday
When you drive through the Jersey Cape, what do you notice? Certainly, you’ll see stunning coastal views and beautiful beach homes nestled in and around quaint, small-town settings. But what you won’t see, for the most part, are big box retailers and chain establishments. Instead, you will find small, local, often family-owned and one-of-a-kind establishments. When you shop local, you support these small businesses.
The local artisans, chefs, brew-masters, farmers, crafters, entertainers and boutique shop owners are the backbone of southern Jersey coast. They provide goods, services and experiences to enhance vacationers’ stays and provide for local residents. These visionaries, sole proprietors and, in some cases, generations of families work hard all year to serve shore visitors. And because they are small and local, they are able to provide impeccable personal service and a dedication to helping deliver what customers want. This type of personalized service is reminiscent of how business once operated before big corporations got involved. These are the important aspects of business that the big retail giants and chain establishments of today simply lack. Instead, profitability seems to be the only goal, with personal service taking a back seat. But not here at the shore.
What is Small Business Saturday?
“Small Business Saturday” was created in 2010 to encourage consumers to support and celebrate small business. Now an annual event, it’s held every Saturday after Thanksgiving. Its strategic positioning between Black Friday and Cyber Monday asks shoppers to think local when purchasing holiday gifts to support small business and keep them in operation.
Even though we’re considered to be at the end of the “shoulder season” for the shore, many shore establishments will remain open through the holidays and beyond. We encourage our readers to consider taking a day trip to the shore to enjoy some of the holiday festivities that have been planned.
Here’s how you can support small businesses at the shore:
Visit the shore for holiday shopping.
Many shops and restaurants will be open and will offer deals for customers during Thanksgiving weekend and on Small Business Saturday. The towns each have festive events planned the throughout the holiday season. This is a great time to find discounted merchandise, stock up on beach essentials for next year, or find a perfect gift for your favorite shore-lover.
Visit local bookstores
Have you ever been at the shore, finished a book, and gone in search of a new one? Chances are, you visited one of the independent bookstores along the coast. If so, you definitely supported a small business in a way that means a lot to these shop owners who are in this business because they books. It’s their greatest pleasure to help their customers find exactly what they’re looking for. The shops often feature works by local authors whose books often take place in, or feature, the town or towns of the southern Jersey shore. You’ll also find unique events personalized to the region and customers in a way that Amazon and Barnes and Noble, their biggest competitors, can’t. So the next time you’re seeking a great book for an upcoming vacation, consider foregoing the big chains and wait until you get there so you can visit one of these shops. Afraid they won’t have what you’re looking for? Give them a call or reach out by email. They’re in this business strictly to put great books in the hands of their customers.
Some local shore businesses have online stores through which you can purchase items. If your favorite business doesn’t maintain an online presence, try giving them a call. I did this one year and the store owner was thrilled to hear I was thinking of her shop long after she closed her doors for the season. I was able to make a purchase by phone and received the items a few days later. Again, there is nothing like the personalized service of a small business owner, who makes you feel like a valued customer.
Purchase a future experience for a loved one.
Many shore businesses offer gift cards or gift certificates. This allows the recipient to enjoy a future experience the following summer. Ideas for future experiences include dining in a favorite restaurant, taking surf lessons, renting a bike or shopping in a favorite store. Last year, one of my family members purchased Sea Isle City gift certificates for us to use during our summer vacation. We enjoyed using the certificates and showing each other what we had purchased. This year, Sea Isle and Avalon are offering discounted holiday-themed beach tags online at JerseyCapeTags.com – a perfect gift for anyone who will spend time on the beach this summer.
Support the business through social media.
If your favorite shop or restaurant has a social media presence, consider giving them a good review or share. It’s a great way to thank them for what they did to enhance your visit. And, it helps spread the word about their business. The best review is word-of-mouth, so if you had a positive experience, please share it.
Most everything you do and shop for at the shore is provided by a local business. If you’re unable to get to the shore shops this weekend, please try to keep a “Small Business Saturday” mentality throughout the year and do your part to support these businesses in any way you can.