NPR Story
2:16 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Independent Retailers Look To 'Small Business Saturday'

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 3:20 pm

Small, locally-owned retailers are also trying to cash in the holiday shopping rush with Small Business Saturday tomorrow.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, LaToya Dennis of WUWM in Milwaukee reports that small players can face a challenge that big box stores don’t have to worry about: marketing.

Reporter

Copyright 2013 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

Transcript

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

It's HERE AND NOW.

Small, locally owned retailers are also trying to cash in on the holiday shopping rush with Small Business Saturday for tomorrow. From the HERE AND NOW Contributors Network, WUWM's LaToya Dennis reports from Milwaukee that small players face a challenge that big-box stores don't have to worry so much about: marketing.

LATOYA DENNIS, BYLINE: Lizzi Weasler has high hopes for the holiday season.

LIZZI WEASLER: Oh, it's extremely important.

DENNIS: Weasler owns a company she calls Lizzibeth. It sells clothing and accessories online. To spread the word, she's set up a display at a fair in downtown Milwaukee.

WEASLER: So, we have lots of fun things for holiday, a lot of glitz, a lot of glam. I love incorporating big, gold, chunky pieces, anything that'll make a black dress shine and give it a little bit more personality.

DENNIS: Weasler wants more people to know about her company before Small Business Saturday arrives. Once they do, Lizzibeth must offer deals.

WEASLER: I'm going to have 20 percent off the entire website. So shop, shop, shop. And then you'll also get a cute little free hair tie whenever you buy something.

DENNIS: Weasler has also been hosting parties at people's homes to become better known. Unlike big box stores, many small retailers don't have the dollars for advertising, so they have to find other ways to market their products, according to Patrician Norins. She's spokesperson for Small Business Saturday.

PATRICIAN NORINS: It definitely goes a long way for small business owners to reach out, email their customer base to let them know they're participating in the day, post their participation on social media sites, post it on their website and really help to get the word out to existing customers that they're participating.

DENNIS: Norins says last year, shoppers spent $5.5 billion at small retailers. She expects the number to be higher this year, because word has gotten out, plus the economy has inched upward. Jack Mozloom says small businesses need shopper dollars. Mozloom works for the National Federation of Independent Business. He says despite the fact that the stock market has reached new heights this year, small retailers have generally lagged the others.

JACK MOZLOOM: Small business owners are generally much more dependent on whether their customers locally feel confident enough to spend money.

DENNIS: Still, Mozloom says he's hopeful the positive stock market gains will boost consumer confidence in local shopping circles. Back in downtown Milwaukee, the owner of Lizzibeth says she feels a better vibe about her clothing and accessories. Things have really picked up.

WEASLER: People have a reason to shop. They're excited to buy things for other people for the holidays and dress up and just use the pieces to adjust their wardrobe that they already have and just add a little extra glitz to it and change the whole entire look of it with just a few accessories.

DENNIS: Lizzi Weasler says she's been working seven days a week since October. A profitable Small Business Saturday would help keep the wheels spinning.

CHAKRABARTI: That's WUWM's LaToya Dennis, reporting from Milwaukee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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