Many people in Roswell are aiming to make the Thanksgiving weekend — including Black Friday and Small Business Saturday — a big shopping event, even if a lot of local stores must still have their physical buildings closed due to state public health orders.
The Thanksgiving weekend traditionally launches the holiday buying season, which a large percentage of retailers rely on to meet annual sales goals. The National Retail Federation estimates that U.S. consumers will spend between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion during November and December, which is actually a 3.6% to 5.2% increase from 2019.
Small Business Saturday, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010, saw 110 million U.S. shoppers in 2019 and brought in $19.6 billion, according to a survey last year conducted by Teneo and commissioned by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
The pandemic-related health closures in effect until Nov. 30 are affecting a number of Roswell stores, said Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell.
Lay said some stores are considered “essential” businesses because of the types of goods they carry and are allowed to accommodate some customers inside their buildings, but most locally owned businesses will have to keep their physical locations closed this holiday weekend. That means a lot of business will be happening by phone or computer.
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Lay said Roswell business owners are working to adapt to the changes in many ways, whether they are tech newbies or tech experts.
“They are willing to accommodate in order to stay at it and do so safely,” she said. “Others are going all out and learning all sorts of new skills to sell their products.”
For business owners who aren’t yet tech savvy, she is seeing them willing to take orders over the phone, by email or by text and deliver to homes or offer curbside pickup. Others more comfortable or equipped to handle technology are launching new websites with built-in e-commerce capabilities. Still others are using social media pages.
Some of all of these methods will be seen during the local Small Business Saturday, which MainStreet Roswell is coordinating.
The organization is hosting a livestreamed Small Business Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MainStreetRoswell. Thirty-minute video segments with downtown business representatives will offer live sales or allow them to show their merchandise.
The “Events” part of the page also gives contact information for other local businesses selling remotely.
Lay also reminds people to remember local restaurants. Many of them, she said, are offering delivery or packaged meals for curbside pick-up.
The Roswell Chamber of Commerce is also promoting local and small businesses this holiday season.
“We still want people to shop locally,” said Administrative Director Elizabeth Morales. “They can shop Amazon and other places, but we want them to shop locally before they go other places.”
For its Shop Safe Shop Local campaign, the group has created a digital “flipbook” featuring ads of local businesses. The flipbook is on the group’s Facebook page and its website, she said.
For every $50 a person spends at businesses in the flipbook, they are entered into the chance to win a $500 grand prize later in December. People also have chances to win other prizes by shopping at businesses in the flipbook that have ads with the “Shop Safe Shop Local” logo on them, with the logo placed on different businesses’ ads as the weeks proceed.
Businesses interested in learning more about e-commerce or participating in local campaigns can contact MainStreet Roswell at 575-914-8017, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Roswell Chamber of Commerce at 575-623-5695, email@example.com.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.