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LI businesses gear up for Small Business Saturday

Cherry Kerr, owner of Rashadema Boutique & Bridal

Cherry Kerr, owner of Rashadema Boutique & Bridal in her Baldwin shop Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Kerr will be participating for a third year in Small Business Saturday held the weekend after Thanksgiving. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Island’s independent business owners are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, which is intended to promote small businesses two days after Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday, created in 2010 by American Express, gives small businesses a fighting chance against retailer-made holidays, such as Black Friday for big-box retailers and Cyber Monday for online retailers, small-business owners and experts said.

“The biggest problem is the internet and Amazon. That’s what hurts us,” said Guy Brogna, owner of All Music in Plainview, which sells and repairs instruments and provides music lessons.

Brogna’s store will offer 10 percent to 40 percent off all items on Saturday. “We want to say, ‘We are here to serve the community, so don’t forget about us,’ ” he said.

Many other Long Island small businesses, from retail stores to restaurants, also will offer discounts, host events and hand out goodies to attract shoppers.

Small Business Saturday “makes sure that the money stays in the community,” said Cherry Kerr, owner of Rashadema Boutique & Bridal in Baldwin, a women’s clothing store that is marking everything down by 50 percent for Small Business Saturday.

In East Hampton, eight retailers located along a walkway between Main Street and Park Avenue will offer special promotions.

“We are not on Main Street, and business is harder on the offseason,” said Jessica Beierle, general manager of clothing store Figue, which will take 15 percent off most purchases.

Last year, 95 million Americans shopped on Small Business Saturday, spending about $16.2 billion at independent retailers and restaurants, up 14 percent from 2014, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express.

About 83 percent of shoppers who are aware of Small Business Saturday say they plan to shop or eat at small, independently owned retailers and restaurants this year. On average, consumers plan to spend $580, American Express found.

“Small Business Saturday is an idea that started out as a way to identify the contributions that small-business owners make and encourage people to go to them,” said Alice Bredin, small business adviser to American Express. “Everybody has heard of it and more companies are involved.”

American Express is offering two times membership rewards points for shopping at small businesses from Small Business Saturday through Dec. 31. Last year, American Express did not offer incentives to participate, but in the past it offered statement credits ranging from $10 to $25.

“Although American Express has pulled back on credits that they are giving customers, they have established this day as a holiday on the mind of shoppers across the country,” said Thomas Shinick, an entrepreneurship and marketing expert and an adjunct professor at Adelphi University’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business.


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