Big chains surrender spotlight to local small businesses on Saturday

Small businesses like Revolution Jewelry Works, Ruffing It and Ascent Cycling all are offering discounts on Saturday as part of Small Business Saturday. Image via Google Maps.

Jennifer Farnes and two retail neighbors are hoping that their participation in Small Business Saturday will help potential customers find them since they have little visibility from either Powers or Stetson Hills boulevards.

Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works, 5928 Stetson Hills Blvd.; Ruffing It, a pet supply and gift shop, and Ascent Cycling all are offering discounts on Saturday as part of the 5-year-old nationwide event that is designed to draw attention to small, locally owned retailers on the day after the chain-store-fueled shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. Consumers spent $14.3 billion nationwide last year during Small Business Saturday, and that total is expected to increase to at least $14.5 billion, according to national sponsor and event founder American Express Co.

"Because we are behind Firestone, not a lot of people realize there are three awesome, small businesses in the parking lot," Farnes said. "It breaks my heart when people tell me they are going to do all their Christmas shopping online. There are a lot of hands-on, artisan stores in Colorado Springs where you can get a more personal gift if you shop locally."

Merchants throughout the Colorado Springs area are participating in Small Business Saturday by offering discounts, giving away tote bags and other items and holding special events, in areas including downtown, Old Colorado City and the shopping center that houses Revolution Jewelry Works, Ruffing It and Ascent Cycling.

Nearly three dozen Old Colorado City merchants and restaurants are hosting a Small Business Saturday Celebration from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. sponsored by Pikes Peak National Bank. It will overlap with the Historic Old Colorado City Christmas Stroll, which will feature entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus from 11 a.m-4p.m. and 5-8 p.m. to the cabin in Bancroft Park, and free food and refreshments and discounts at Old Colorado City businesses.

"Ideally, Small Business Saturday will be about members of the community coming to Old Colorado City, shopping and buying their holiday gifts from locally owned businesses, then stopping and having lunch or dinner at our restaurants and participating in our Christmas Stroll," said Robin Roberts, CEO of Pikes Peak National Bank.

Scores of downtown merchants and restaurants also are participating in Small Business Saturday, offering discounts and specials as well as live artist demonstrations at Boulder Street Gallery and Framing and a grand opening celebration for Tailored West, a new women's clothing shop.

"This is a critical time for our merchants," said Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. "We are looking for smiling faces, ringing cash registers and a lively environment. We are trying to create a positive experience. We want the customer to feel special, something they don't get at a chain store - more friendly than frenzied. You will find items that are unique and we will give you great (gift) ideas. We are seeing more demand for locally made and unique-to-Colorado gives that are made by artisans."

John O'Neill, co-owner of Colorado Running Co. at the University Village Colorado shopping center, where he many of his neighbors are national chain retailers, hopes customers will consider that "when they shop small and local, what that does for our economy instead of shopping online. For every $100 spent, 80 percent of its stays in the community. With only about 5 percent of what you spend stays local."


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