#ShopSmall with Us on Small Business Saturday – November 25th

The #ShopSmall Movement is Coming to The City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences were found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.

Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  

On November 25th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 25th businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.

Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmall.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     Shop Small

Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.

Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 252,019 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created over 5,000 new jobs in 2014 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 25th event!

So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible,unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are trying to make a difference for our city!

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year.  Join the movement and shop local on November 25th this year!

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopLaurel

The 2 people who will make or break Laurel’s #shopsmall movement

Historic Laurel Leader Call“Once a Year Value” “You Must Come See!”

The advertisements scream at me as I look through a yellowed issue of the Laurel Leader Call from 1978.

“Red Hot Bargains!” “Big Clearance Sale!”

Who were they talking to? Did they even know?

Near the bottom of each ad is a little statement that reads “Downtown Laurel Mall.” At the top of each – a business name that is unfamiliar to the downtown we know today.

Nearly 40 years later we are at a tipping point.

Now, we see what used to be the remains of a once-bustling city center bursting back into life. Now, we see change ahead.

But who will be responsible if we fail, like so many before us?

It’s you, entrepreneur.

If you’re like me you live and breathe your business. Our ability to love our business is nearly unshakable.

It’s in this love, this blind adoration, that we lose sight of what it feels like for those standing on the other side of the “open” sign. It is this self-love that causes us to scream at those we hope will step through our doors. “1 day sale!” “Best!” “Quality!”

But it never works – not really, not sustainably.

Why don’t they love our businesses the way we do?

In my marketing and growth work with local businesses and main street programs I’m finding this seemingly hidden truth – empathy is the key to success.

It’s not your love for your business that will spell out your success, but your love, your true undying love for those who walk through your doors that will carry you through.

Our very best marketing successes, the rebranding and websites and stories that truly shake even my own understanding of what local businesses are capable of, are all based in empathy – in a deep understanding of the people who are able to see your business the way you do.

On November 26th, we will join together with businesses all over the country to promote our businesses for Small Business Saturday and the #shopsmall movement.

But this year I want to see real success.

On November 15th we will come together at the Downtown Merchants meeting to brainstorm ideas. We will work together to find the best way to love on our people, and I will be on hand to help you with specific ideas for your business. The meeting will be held in the conference room at the 1st National Bank building beginning at 5:30.

This year I want to see our downtown businesses show up and show out in love for our local folks. I want to see products and services designed just for our people.

I want to see events that show an understanding of our people and what they actually want from us. I want you guys, the downtown entrepreneurs, to make this event the biggest show of love a town has ever seen.

Pull off your blinders, see our people, and show them that we don’t take them for granted. Show them what Laurel-love looks like, and I will stake my reputation on your success.

If you love, really love, we cannot fail.

But local folks, it’s up to you too.

I know you. I am you.

I walk the streets of Downtown Laurel wondering what is coming next. What will be in this old building, or that one? We need this, or that, or that other thing!

I talk with friends and family about what is happening here and feel excitement for all that is to come. I feel excited because I feel that finally – Laurel is becoming the home town I always wanted.

But who made us spectators?

Who said it was ok for us to sit back and watch and wait and hope for new things to come?

Even if you don’t feel the pull to risk your savings on a new business, or don’t choose to buy a home in the historic district, or don’t want to serve on a committee or volunteer at an event – it is still up to you to play a part in making our home town into something we can be proud of.

It is up to you to support the folks who are doing those things. It is up to you to love them back.

Our downtown businesses have been preparing for you for a long time.

They’ve spent so much time hunting for just the thing you’ve been looking for. They’ve been traveling across the country to markets looking for unique items that seem to be made just for our Laurel folks.

They have used their talents to craft and create one-of-a-kind items just for you.

They’ve spent countless hours deep into the night making their shops worthy of your visit. You are their guests – and they are waiting for you.

On Saturday November 26th you have the opportunity and responsibility to give back to those who have been working so hard.

Here is how you can love them back:

Today –

Make a true, honest and loving commitment to spend a portion of your Christmas shopping budget in locally-owned businesses. Write it down. Tell someone. Hold yourself to it.

This week –

Much like you would tell the world if your child or grandchild won an award or was performing in a play, tell others about what is happening in the town you love so much. And ask them to commit to supporting it as well. This means sharing your commitment on Facebook, calling or texting a friend, or telling your family about it at the next get-together.

Saturday, November 26th –

Show up for those you love.

Come to Downtown (or to any local Laurel business) and actually put that commitment to the test. Spend in our local shops, buy one-of-a-kind gifts, and show your friends and family what it means when you say “#iliveinlaurel.”


Downtown entrepreneurs and Laurel folks – it is up to you. You will make or break not only Small Business Saturday, but the future of our hometown. It is us, the folks who love this town and want to see her become a shining beacon of success, who are most responsible for the outcome.

Make a commitment to show out in love November 26th, and we will show the world what it looks like when Laurel refuses to fail.

Small Business Saturday is coming to Laurel!

Throughout our Downtown Entrepreneur series we’ve been talking about the importance of small businesses and the impact an entrepreneur can have on those around them.

Take Andrea Milham for instance – the local antique store owner who is working to fill downtown buildings with the ideas and dreams of others.

Or Jim & Mallorie Rasberry, who are preserving history and building a strong future by opening their hearts, as well as their business, to make a way for growth and prosperity in Downtown, Laurel.

Or James and Sue Smith, who revealed their secret for building a business that lasts through the years and a following that can’t be shaken and Bo Watts who told us all about the secrets of growing your young business strategically.

But the entrepreneurial spark isn’t limited to a few; it is a movement in and of itself, and it’s time that we join up. Are you ready?

The #shopsmall movement comes to the City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores the day after Thanksgiving to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the craziness of it all, we forget that some of our most cherished purchases and most enjoyable shopping experiences were found on a relaxed shopping trip to a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the giant department stores.

For those of us who put our heart and souls into every detail of our small business – creating those experiences for our customers is not only a priority, but one of the greatest joys of entrepreneurship.

At LMS, we think it is time to celebrate the little guys, the local folks who put so much love into every detail and who grow excited every time the little bell on the door rings, announcing the presence of a kindred soul, seeking out an experience that is anything but typical.

On November 28, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate the ringing of those little bells, and the excitement that goes with them, all over Downtown Laurel for Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, and the #shopsmall movement, isn’t a new idea (it started in 2010), but it is time that Laurel jumped on board.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for the Laurel, Mississippi #shopsmall Movement and Small Business Saturday along with event sponsors Own Your Hill Local Online Marketing and Studio 5 Fifty – we’re calling you out – business owners and shoppers alike.

How your business can be a part of the #shopsmall movement

On November 28 businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers from all over Laurel with special events, artists, performances, giveaways, promotions and more! Will your business be among them?

As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a LMS member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team. Click here to download our membership application and get ready to #shopsmall!

Need more info? Click here to get in touch.

Preparing your business for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday Promotion IdeasSBS could be the kickstart your business needs or it could be the next step on your path to success, but it won’t happen by accident. Make a commitment to knock it out of the park with us by following the steps in this FREE guide provided by Own Your Hill founder Bethany Byrd – Your Step-by-Step Marketing Road Map to Small Business Saturday Success.

This guide is full of great tips and tricks usually reserved for the marketing professionals that you can use to skyrocket your business. Don’t miss it!

SBS is the perfect excuse for a fresh, new look

In the coming weeks you’ll see many buildings throughout Downtown Laurel getting all spruced up for this once-a-year event.

Maybe you’ll see a coat of fresh paint or modern new signage, or maybe even one of our special chalk-board sandwich boards announcing a special promotion or giveaway for the event.

With the LMS Facade and Amenities grant, these updates could be a reality for every building in Downtown Laurel! Be sure to head on over the the grant page to check out all the details and to see how you can qualify.

What you can do to support the #shopsmall movement

Do you believe in small business? The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience, but it doesn’t stop there.

Why you should get involved:
Why Shop Small Infographic

Get involved by:

  • Posting about the #shopsmall movement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Telling your favorite business owners that you’d like to see them join the #shopsmall movement
  • Asking your friends to come with you to shop November 28

Follow Laurel Main Street on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for some great ideas about things to post about and discuss with your friends in the coming weeks.

The movement is here! Will you join us?

Will you #shopsmall with us on Small Business Saturday?

Shop Small at It's What a Girl WantsShop Small at Peddlers' Junktion, Laurel, MSShop Small at Quarter Century, Laurel, MS Shop Small at Misty's, Laurel, MS Shop Small at New Look, Laurel, MSShop Small at Southern Antique, Laurel, MSShop Small at Patina's, Laurel, MSBy Bethany Byrd

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals found on holiday gifts for loved ones. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger – a return to an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact this shift makes on the local economy.

According to the 2013 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insight Survey, over $5.7 billion was spent at independent retailers during last year’s event.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spend at a large, chain-type business where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

Supporting local folks during SBS

But, it’s not just about the tax dollars or the economy, is it? The effect of an event like SBS is even bigger than that – it has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them.

Dan Danner, the CEO of NFIB at American Express says:

“In an uncertain economy, America’s small businesses have remained a beacon — creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them. We are very pleased that so many Americans sought to give back by shopping small this Small Business Saturday. We hope that support of small firms, retailers, restaurants and other independent businesses continues throughout the holiday season and all year round. Continued support of this vital sector is one important way to ensure our economy fully recovers and a healthy private sector is restored.”

And we aren’t alone! Support of Small Business Saturday has spread throughout the United States and is seeing consistent, measurable growth year after year.

“In just four years, the nation has adopted Small Business Saturday and made it part of the holiday shopping tradition,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. “(Last year), we saw a continuation of this growing trend as communities around the country came together to celebrate local businesses and helped drive consumers to Shop Small on the day.”

Where to #shopsmall in Laurel, MS

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 29th event!

See below for a list of businesses who will open their doors so that you can #shopsmall on November 29!

From Sawmill Rd:

Misty’s
New Look
Artworks
The Shoppes at Sawmill Marketplace -Peddlers’ Junktion, Quarter Century, Goodness Gracious

Down Central Ave & Commerce St.:

It’s What a Girl Wants
All Jazzed Up
Elegant Evenings
Retail Therapy
Patina’s

Up Magnolia St. and Oak St.:

Southern Antique
Clairmont Designs

Join us November 29 in Downtown Laurel to get great deals, find some incredible local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are trying to make a difference for our city!