Small Business Saturday encourages shopping small individually-owned businesses

By J. Werner
| Published 11/23/2012

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- ‘Small Business Saturday,’ initiated in 2010 to support small businesses, is held the Saturday after Black Friday to patronize the small community businesses by encouraging shoppers to spend some of their holiday money in the local brick-and-mortar stores.

Shop small businesses in The Woodlands this Saturday, Nov 24

Originally conceived and promoted by American Express in a nation-wide campaign, the ‘Small Business Saturday’ slogan has practically become a mantra for entrepreneurs. But it takes a savvy shopper to prorate their funds in such a way that they capitalize on the Black Friday in-store specials and on-line discounts, and still have something left for the individually-owned businesses. This isn’t nearly as difficult to do in The Woodlands, where the number of small businesses outweighs the number of big box stores. Some of the oldest, family-owned businesses survived and thrived during one of the worst economic periods.

Among the oldest, 27 years to be exact…Robichau’s Jewelry, is now in their second generation of jewelers. The business originally started with brothers, Jack and Ray, and now brothers, Matt and John, have joined the one-of-a-kind, customer designed jewelry business.

“We’re not located in the Mall, so Black Friday isn’t a big day for us, but the day after generally is,” said Matt Robichau. “We try to keep the business small, to better serve our niche market.”

You can find a sparkling stocking stuffer at their location in the Panther Creek Shopping Center at 4774 W. Panther Creek, Suite 245B,

Just down the sidewalk is Marta’s Ladies Boutique, specializing in women’s apparel and fashion accessories. Another small business with over twenty year’s residency in The Woodlands.

On a sad note, one of The Woodlands’ oldest businesses with a 25-year history, “October Gave a Party,” officially closed its doors just prior to this holiday shopping season. Also located in the Panther Creek Shopping Center, the unique name lent itself to the uniqueness of their eclectic merchandise that included, gifts, home décor, and seasonal decorations. Quite possibly if programs like ‘Small Business Saturday’ had been initiated sooner, more small businesses would have survived.

At one time a neighbor to the previously mentioned businesses, the Candy House, now located at 27160 Glen Loch Drive, is a small shop with a big assortment of chocolates, candies, and confections. A trip to the Candy House will certainly ensure that visions of sugar plums will dance in their heads.

This article would be lacking if Woodlands Online wasn’t mentioned among the small, family-owned businesses. Approaching its 17th year of service to the community, the online website and its affiliates, have not only weathered the economic downturn, it enabled many residents to do so too. At the recent “Lighting of the Doves” event many residents stopped by the Woodlands Online booth to mention how the Classifieds and the Jobs Market sections helped them. Just a small sampling of comments made…

“I don’t know what I would have done without the Woodlands Online classifieds.”

“I was able to save so much money shopping the classifieds section.”

“I made extra mad money selling things on your classifieds section.”

“I found my job on your Jobs listing section.”

It’s for this reason that small businesses are special to Woodlands Online. We’re small too, and know all to well what it takes to make a successful run given all the variables that confront small businesses.

At the very least, the ‘rule of thumb’ for Small Business Saturday is to allocate 50 dollars for purchases in three independently-owned, small businesses. The 3/50 Project was devised by Cinda Baxter, the national spokesperson for the Small Business Saturday its first year. For every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 is returned to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. Only $43 remains in the community for the same amount spent in national chain stores. When spent with online merchants, nothing is returned to the local economy.

To assist shoppers with locating the small businesses in their area a smart phone app was created call LookLocal. The free app will provide a list of the retailers, restaurants, and specialty stores that are locally-owned brick and mortar businesses. To participate in Small Business Saturday just make a plan to shop three of your favorite local, small businesses. What goes around, comes around.

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