Local shops look to boost holiday sales on Small Business Saturday

North Fork, Suffolk County, Long Island, Black Friday
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Speedworld FX owner Jim Stavrinos in his Riverhead store stockpiled full of auto accessories including fancy wheel rims which start at under $100. The store is open this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

In between looking for Black Friday deals at retail stores and making online purchases this Cyber Monday, smaller North Fork shops are hoping you’ll visit them this Small Business Saturday.

The second annual nationwide event, spearheaded by American Express, aims to promote local shops during this holiday season. Shoppers who charge $25 or more on Nov. 26 at participating small business stores will receive a $25 credit on their billing statement. To receive this one-time credit, American Express cardholders must first register online.

Andrew Rowsom, who owns the nautical gift shop Preston’s of Ships & Sea in Greenport, said the Small Business Saturday hype has prompted him to offer specials on certain items in his store, including sales on kayaks.

“[Small Business Saturday] created a buzz and puts in the shopper’s mind to shop locally,” he said. “People are finding it’s more enjoyable to do their holiday shopping at our nice and friendly stores located right here in their own communities.”

Jimmy Stavrinos, owner of the auto parts store SpeedWorldFX in Riverhead, said he isn’t too concerned about big box stores dominating sales with Black Friday deals because he believes shoppers fed up with holiday sale frenzies will turn to small businesses.

“I think the big box stores are shooting themselves in the foot because long lines are a turnoff,” he said. “Its not worth it to some people, so they’ll shop at smaller retail stores.”

In an effort to entice holiday shoppers to visit local stores, some small business owners participating in the American Express Card program have decided to expand on the deal.

Paula DiDonato, owner of The Giving Room in Southold, said she saw an increase in business last year due to the Small Business Saturday promotion and decided to match the American Express offer this time around in order to boost holiday sales.

Customers who use their American Express card this Saturday at the Route 25 yoga studio to purchase a package of either 10 or 20 classes will receive $25 off.

“Savings definitely motivates people, but, more importantly, I think the notion of supporting businesses in local communities is appealing to a lot of people,” she said.

Jamesport Country Store, located on Main Road in Jamesport, is also expanding on the American Express deal by offering 20 percent off all store merchandise.

Howard Waldman, whose family has owned the home decor shop for the past 39 years, said he believes Small Business Saturday could turn into a “big movement.”

“I think people want to participate in small business and I think they just need a movement to move them along,” he said. “They want to do the right thing and support their community and I think [Small Business Saturday] is going to be pretty successful.”

To find small businesses by zip code that are participating in the American Express Card Small Business Saturday program, visit its Facebook Page.

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