Local businesses urge shoppers to think small for the holidays

2013-12-01T23:00:00Z 2013-12-02T15:07:17Z Local businesses urge shoppers to think small for the holidaysLauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

Roy Krizek doesn't like the idea of spending Thanksgiving camped outside of a big box store.

"I'm very against the idea of making Thanksgiving day the kick off the holiday season," Krizek said. "I can't imagine anything worse than standing out in line at a store waiting for a deal on a big screen TV."

Krizek, who co-owns the Schoolhouse Shop at 278 E 1500 N in Chesterton with James Ruge, embraces Small Business Saturday and uses it as the official launch of the holiday shopping season in the store, with Christmas merchandise not appearing before then.

Small Business Saturday, nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was created by American Express four years ago to help attract customers to support small, local businesses while holiday shopping and party planning.

The National Federation of Independent Business, which supports the event, stressed small businesses are important community members who often sponsor local events, teams and charities and play a vital role in the state and national economies.

A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express released this month found small businesses planned to invest more in Small Business Saturday this year over last.

Of the small businesses surveyed, 18 percent said they planned to pay for Small Business Saturday advertising, up from 9 percent in 2012, and 33 percent said they planned to offer a free gift with purchase, up from 20 percent in 2012.

The Schoolhouse Shop offers special discounts throughout the store on Small Business Saturday and the following Sunday.

"We don't mark up like some large stores that have the ability to do that well above the price then say they are marked down," Krizek said.

Barbara Quandt, Indiana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said 90 percent of Indiana employers are small businesses and most Hoosiers are employed by them.

"When you shop small this year, you'll be giving a big boost to our economy," Quandt said. "You'll be helping your neighbors. You'll be helping your communities. You'll be fueling job growth. And you'll be getting great deals, unique gifts and better service than you can find anywhere else."

Krizek agrees. Because his store is a stand alone, destination shop in the dunes, "we're probably going to be more attractive to the shopper who wants to shop with a family member for an enjoyable shopping experience."

"If you look at studies of what people like to do in recreational areas – birding, hunting, camping – shopping is No. 1," Krizek said. "We work to make that experience as pleasant as we can."

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