River District businesses ready for Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday, the nation’s largest day of shopping local, is just around the corner. Local Businesses in the River District are getting ready with beautiful holiday displays, festive décor, and shopping deals.
Small Business Saturday launched in 2010 and became officially recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2011. By 2012, every state in the nation was celebrating Small Business Saturday and in 2014, Americans spent an estimated $14.3 billion at small local businesses on Small Business Saturday. In 2015, over 95 million people came out to shop.
This is only the second year Wausau has officially participated in Small Business Saturday, and retailers are excited for the season.
“We’re excited about Small Business Saturday because it’s a chance to come together as a community to celebrate dedication, cooperation, and values we all share. We get few opportunities to shine brighter than box store operations. Guests tell us that Small Business Saturday is a reminder that personal attention and a personal touch impact their holiday experience as a whole. We feel privileged to be part of that,” says Theresa Shepherd, co-owner of Shepherd & Schaller Sporting Goods.
Isaac’s Fine Apparel, In Washington Square, is feeling the excitement as well.
“Small Business Saturday is a celebration to encourage people to support local brick and mortar businesses. It is a day to shop small at places we love with people we love and encourage others to be more aware of the benefits of shopping local,” says Tammy Dahms, owner of Isaac’s Fine Apparel.
Ken Haines, co-owner of Campbell Haines Menswear, is also quick to point out the economic benefits to the community of shopping local.
“When you buy local, you make you neighborhoods stable, unique, and sustainable,” he said. “You create jobs, plowing the profits back in the community, investing in your future.”
Wausau River District organizers are excited, too.
“Small Business Saturday is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the reasons shopping local is so important, not just during the holidays, but every day of the year. When you buy from a local business, 68% of that money stays in the community, whereas only 43% stays in the community from a big box store, and nothing from internet sales. When money stays in the community, it circulates back into local charities, tax revenues, and to people who make their lives in our community,” says Wausau River District executive director Elizabeth Field.
As an added incentive to get out and shop local, Wausau River District is hosting a selfie contest. Just snap a picture of yourself shopping or eating at a local River District business with the hashtag #ShopSmallWausau and post to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram to be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to any River District business. Winners will be drawn from all three platforms.
Besides shopping specials, selfie contests, and boosting the local economy, Field points out another reason to come to the River District for your holiday shopping: “the lights!” Garlands donated by the Dudley Foundation are hung over Third Street, lights are strung around the trees, and Mark Craig, the man behind the umbrellas over Third Street, has lit up the holidays with additional festive lights over the 300 block of Third Street. Besides that, the Wausau Center Mall has a Santa for the first time in years.
“Atmosphere like this has to be experienced,” says Field. “You can’t find this on your couch or at a big box store.”
The purpose of the Wausau River District is to promote and facilitate the economic vitality and historic preservation of downtown Wausau for the benefit of the entire community.