BILLINGS - Small Business Saturday may mean freebies and discounts for customers, but for Billings business owners it’s a way to appreciate those who shop local.
Shopper Chere McFarland made the most of her Small Business Saturday by shopping at various spots downtown.
“I love my community, and I’m down here supporting the businesses that I love,” McFarland said.
Zest Kitchen and Cookware saw a line of eager customers as soon as their doors opened. A terrific start to the day for owner Marguerite Jodry.
“It gets a lot of people out. Last year, our first year open, this was one of our biggest days on record,” Jodry said.
Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 to promote small businesses during the wake of the recession. Though the recession has come and gone, business owners are still dealing with a two-year-long pandemic.
Lucy Aspinwall owns Aspinwall Mountain Wear with her husband, David.
“With the pandemic, I think for the first time we saw places close. Downtown Billings, there were places closing all over the place. Then people are intentionally saying, I have to go shop there, I’m not going to just say I’m going to do it,” said Aspinwall.
For the Aspinwalls, Small Business Saturday is more of a day to show appreciation to their customers.
“When my husband and I show up on days like today, we’re here just to honestly connect with customers and thank them for all their support all these years,” said Aspinwall.
Though many shops, like Aspinwall Mountain Wear, were offering discounts and perks, for customer Megan Hagen, shopping local isn’t about the perks.
“It’s always nice to have the perks, but honestly I don’t mind spending the little extra money to shop the local. It’s just a lot easier that way to give back to them,” said Hagen.
This community mentality may be why business owners are seeing an uptick in face-to-face shopping. Amy Pawlowski, owner of the Liberty and Vine store, says the number of customers has been growing every year.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t want to put up with the hustle and bustle of getting the best deal. They just want to enjoy their experience,” said Pawlowski.
As for Chere McFarland, a nurse, she bought kitchen gloves from Zest for one of her favorite patients.
“He’s getting some store-bought but they’re lovely,” said McFarland.
Though Small Business Saturday only comes once a year, Billings local businesses are always open and eager to fulfill the needs of their community.