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Local Charlotte businesses gear up for this year’s Small Business Saturday

 DeAnna Allen opened Brown Sugar Collab a few weeks before Thanksgiving last year.
Courtesy of DeAnna Allen
DeAnna Allen opened Brown Sugar Collab a few weeks before Thanksgiving last year.

DeAnna Allen opened her business Brown Sugar Collab in October of 2020, only a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

She says Small Business Saturday last year was incredibly important for her South End boutique. In one weekend , she says she was able to make enough money to pay the store’s rent for on e month.

“If people don't come out to shop, it makes it tougher for us to meet our sales goals for the month,” Allen said. “But with Small Business Saturday we're able to meet those sales goals, usually in one weekend.”

Brown Sugar Collab sells items such as candles and skin care p roduc ts handmade by local women of color. Allen says supporting small businesses not only stimulates the local economy but it also personally helps entrepreneurs.

“Some of these women are supporting their families off of what they sell to me and to other stores,” Allen said.

DeAnna Allen is the owner of Brown Sugar Collab, a store in South End that sells products like candles and skin care handmade by local women of color.
Courtesy of DeAnna Allen

She says many of her vendors lost their jobs during COVID-19 and have turned selling their products into their full - time job.

American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way of supporting local businesses during the Great Recession.

Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, the Small Business Administration reported shoppers spent nearly $20 billion nationally during Small Business Saturday.

North Carolina’s SBA District Director, Michael Arriola , says he’s confident customers will once again support local businesses this year.

“Consumers have a lot more disposable income,” Arriola said. “So people are going to spend and they're going to spend with an even greater vengeance this time around.”

According to a Lending Tree survey, nearly half of Americans said they would shop on Small Business Saturday. And 63% said the pandemic had strengthened their loyalty to small businesses.

“Whenever you shop at a small business , m ore of your dollar gets retained in the local community,” Arriola said. “So , in terms of patronizing our local small businesses, it's really important to understand the impact that your own dollar has on the community in which you reside.”

Abbigail Glen is the owner of Shelves Bookstore, an online and pop-up bookstore. She says she’s grateful for Small Business Saturday , but thinks customers should support local stores year round.

 Abbigail Glen owns Shelves Bookstore an online and pop-up bookstore in Charlotte.
Courtesy of Abbigail Glen
Abbigail Glen owns Shelves Bookstore an online and pop-up bookstore in Charlotte.

“I encourage people all the time to be very intentional about leveraging their income with small businesses , ” Glen said. “All I'm asking is that you try to consider if some of the things that you regularly purchase, if there is a small business in your community, or even if there's a small business outside of your community that could benefit from your dollars.”

Shelves Bookstore is having a sale throughout the holiday weekend , but Glen says customers shouldn’t expect small businesses to have the same discounts big retail stores have.

“Do not take it personally if a small business cannot give you a sale, " G len said, "that is not the point and supporting small businesses . ”

Copyright 2021 WFAE

Maria Ramirez Uribe