Springfield's Historic C-Street is encouraging shoppers to do their holiday shopping at one of Commercial Street's many small businesses. (Photo by Jack McGee)

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday offers a holiday shopping escape from the giant retailers whose ads fill our inboxes and mailboxes.

Small, local businesses — including boutiques, coffee shops, farmers markets and artists, among others — get to exhibit their uniqueness and identity on a day that brings shoppers from around the Ozarks.

Why Saturday is vital for local businesses

Holiday shopping represents a significant amount of annual sales for small businesses, even as much as 40 to 50 percent of downtown small businesses, according to Hailey Magnus, the communications manager for the Downtown Springfield Association.

Magnus encourages shoppers to keep in mind some small businesses may not be able to offer deals on Saturday that are as good as what they might find at big-box stores on Black Friday.

“[Black Friday] has been this ideal shopping day for deals and getting discounts on a lot of things,” Magnus said. “Unfortunately, small businesses just aren’t able to offer those all that often and to the extent that big-box stores are doing because of those smaller profit margins.

“So having this day to really celebrate and show your support for the businesses in the community, it makes all the difference about basically how the next year’s gonna go for them and if they’re able to stay open.”

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However, Magnus emphasized that small businesses, while not able to offer as steep of discounts as chain retailers, focus on having the best quality. Additionally, she noted shopping locally helps put money back into the community, whether through taxes or due to some small businesses prioritizing contributing to community programs. 

“You are truly making a person or group of people extremely happy with your purchase versus just a large box store that it’s just another number on a report somewhere,” Magnus said. “But you have to keep in mind that though you might be paying a little bit more, that it is going a whole lot further for the people that you’re supporting, as well as the community.”

I think it’s helpful that it puts it in people’s heads to go and look for small businesses.

Joshua Arnett, BookMarx

Joshua Arnett, the owner of BookMarx, an independent bookstore in downtown Springfield, is looking forward to what Small Business Saturday has in store for himself and his neighboring businesses.

BookMarx, a bookstore in downtown Springfield, is preparing for one of their busiest days of the year: Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Jack McGee)

Arnett said that Small Business Saturday, along with Independent Bookstore Day, which takes place on the last Saturday in April, are the busiest days of the year for BookMarx.

“I think it’s helpful that it puts it in people’s heads to go and look for small businesses. …It’s a good reminder to people to shop at small businesses like local places,” Arnett said.

Small Business Saturday is incredibly important to businesses of our size …

jeff seifried, blackwells

A few miles southwest of Bookmarx, Jeff and Lindsay Seifried, who recently acquired the clothing store Blackwells from Rex Blackwell, are preparing for a busy weekend themselves less than two months after purchasing the business. While they are holding deals and promotions on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, they understand how much the latter is important to small businesses in the community.

“Small Business Saturday is incredibly important to businesses of our size in the community, and it celebrates the opportunity to go to places that you normally go to shop and try new places,” Jeff said.

A bit of history: Small Business Saturday origins

Small Business Saturday is a relatively new “holiday,” founded by multinational payment card corporation American Express in 2010. It was created as a marketing strategy to encourage spending on the Saturday after Black Friday, but promoting small businesses rather than the big-box retailers that have come to dominate the day after Thanksgiving. 

A year after its debut, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution that designated the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday, and now the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) co-sponsors the one-day shopping event. Spending in small businesses on the shopping holiday reached an all-time high of an estimated $23.3 billion in 2021, according to American Express

Since its not-so-long-ago beginnings, Small Business Saturday (and small businesses in general) has relied on social media as a way to promote local businesses and encourage shoppers to find one to support. This year, American Express entered a partnership with social media giant TikTok to urge users to “#ShopSmall”.

Saturday events around Springfield

Aside from participating in Small Business Saturday by simply shopping local, there are a handful of events and promotions Springfield small businesses and organizations are holding to champion the Black Friday alternative.

The Downtown Springfield Association is providing downtown small businesses with stickers that say “I Shopped Small” to give patrons. Customers can then take a picture of themselves wearing the sticker and post it on social media with the hashtag “#ShopSmallSGF” to be eligible for prizes that can be picked up at Green House Coffee + Affogato Bar at 431 S. Jefferson Ave. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All new and used books at Bookmarx will be discounted at 20 percent off, and they will be giving away a Bookmarx tote bag and a copy of Mark Twain’s novel “Puddn’head Wilson” to customers that spend more than $50.

Blackwells, located in the Brentwood Center, will be welcoming guests with food and beverages, while Galloway’s Culture Flock will give out free “goodie bags” to the first 25 shoppers.

Jeff and Lindsay Seifried, recently purchased Blackwells from longtime owner Rex Blackwell. They are preparing for their first Small Business Saturday with the southside clothier. (Photo by Jack McGee)

Springfield’s Metro Eats food park will be hosting a Small Business Saturday pop-up event that will feature an assortment of vendors selling art, plants, jewelry, cosmetics, dog treats, food, clothing and more. Located at 2463 W. Sunshine St., the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eurasia Coffee Co, at 445 E. Commercial St., will host a pop-up of their own, with local artists and vendors setting up shop from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Historic C-Street is encouraging shoppers to make Small Business Saturday an all-weekend event, and avoid the large crowds by supporting their small businesses.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Relics Antique Mall will be hosting vendors for customers to support in addition to their regular booths.

Springfield’s Historic C-Street is encouraging shoppers to do their holiday shopping at one of Commercial Street’s many small businesses. (Photo by Jack McGee)

Popular Springfield small businesses and their Saturday hours

Here is a list of familiar businesses whose hours and products coincide with Small Business Saturday. And while it doesn’t even begin to cover all of the small businesses in Springfield, it provides a few that would benefit from a busy Small Business Saturday.

Notably excluded are restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, bars, and other industries that are also vital parts of Springfield’s small business community that could use support on Saturday – or any other day.

Send along added suggestions to jmcgee@sgfcitizen.org.

Blackwells

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

2716 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65804

Culture Flock

Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

3938 S. Lone Pine Ave. Ste. 102, Springfield, MO 65804

BookMarx

Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

325 E. Walnut St., Springfield, MO 65806

J.L. Long Traders

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

318 W. Walnut St., Springfield, MO 65806

SOAP Refill Station

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

210 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, MO 65806

The Market

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2628 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65804

HIM

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2636 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65804

Relics Antique Mall

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

2015 W. Battlefield Road, Springfield, MO 65807

5 Pound Apparel

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

412 South Ave., Springfield, MO 65806

The Acoustic Shoppe

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1913 E. Seminole St., Springfield, MO 65804

The Local Bevy

Saturday 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

617 S. Pickwick Ave., Springfield, MO 65802

Wickman’s Garden Village

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1345 S. Fort Ave., Springfield, MO 65807

The Plant Room

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1349 S. Glenstone Ave. Ste. H, Springfield, MO 65804

Springfield Leather Company

Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1463 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65804

The Polish Pottery Shoppe

Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2802 E. Battlefield Road, Springfield, MO 65804

Pine

Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

3830 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield, MO 65804

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the business and economic development reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and elections for the Citizen. Before that, he worked at documentary film company Carbon Trace Productions and Missouri State University’s student-led newspaper, The Standard. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at jmcgee@sgfcitizen.org or (417) 719-5129. More by Jack McGee