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Small Business Saturday encourages local shopping

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A few downtown Roswell merchants capitalize on Shop Small Saturday, sponsored by American Express and supported by MainStreet Roswell, by displaying balloons, pennants and posters to attract shoppers and by giving away swag bags of goodies. New Mexico has 154,489 small businesses, defined as those with less than 500 employees, and they make up 99 percent of all businesses in the state, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

ARTESIA — It didn’t matter if the businesses were on Main Street or Hermosa Drive, a number of locally owned businesses in Artesia were participating in Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was set up in 2010 by the American Express credit company to show support to local businesses across the country. According to American Express, SBS takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“We want to encourage people to shop local and support these small businesses,” Ann Jacquess said.

She and her husband Virgil are co-owners of the Honey Depot gift shop at 104 W. Hermosa Drive.

Saturday, Honey Depot was offering 15-percent off for its customers. Ann Jacquess said SBS was a good opportunity for businesses like hers to show people what kind of wares that locally owned merchants carry.

“We have candles, cards and a variety of gifts, home decor, kitchen gadgets and children’s educational toys,” she said.

Honey Depot also has a store dedicated to all things Christmas. She said the store opened last month and will remain open through the end of December.

“Our theme this year is, ‘I heard the bells on Christmas Day.’ We’ve got a large variety of bells,” she added.

People driving through the heart of Artesia on Saturday noticed plenty of SBS-themed merchants.

“I’m just having a storewide sale of 25-percent off, it’s an extension of our Black Friday sale,” said Whitney Baize, co-owner of Gracie’s in downtown Artesia.

Baize said this was her first venture into SBS territory.

“This is my second year to be open on Saturday,” she said. “This is actually my first time to be a part of it.”

Baize was asked to talk about what a store like hers means to a community like Artesia.

“They love having something like this in town,” she said. “We are a small town, and you don’t have many places to shop for clothes for Christmas presents or just anything in general.”

She said people like having options without having to leave Artesia.

Baize said she had, “a huge crowd on Black Friday.”

“They (shoppers) would come in big groups and then it would be quiet for a while and throughout the day it was pretty busy,” Baize added. “It was much more busier than last year.”

Baize said Gracie’s is normally closed on Monday, but during the Christmas shopping season, she said they would be open Monday through Saturday.

Simply Bello, a kitchen shop, located just a short walk from Gracie’s, was also participating in SBS.

Owner Cindy Polk was “hoping people would shop local businesses.”

Like Baize, Polk said Black Friday was great for her business.

“It was busy all day,” she said.

Her business had participated in past SBS events. Polk was offering “special snacks and drinks for customers as they shop.”

Simply Bello will also be open Monday through Saturday for the Christmas shopping season.

The Ocotillo Performing Arts Center was also participating, according to Laurie Schotz, executive director of the Artesia Arts Council.

She said people could buy “fine arts and fine crafts by local artists.”

The Artesia Public Library was also offering gift wrapping for shoppers who may be all thumbs when it comes to hiding presents from loved ones underneath the Christmas tree.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.