Small Business Saturday kicks off holiday season for local businesses

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The weekend after Thanksgiving in 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, which works to promote locally-owned businesses.

In Madison and Dane County, local businesses kicked off the holiday season with Small Business Saturday, but it is just the beginning for many.

This time of year can make or break a business, as many rely on the holiday season for a bulk of their sales.

This means that local businesses hope shoppers are already getting into the holiday spirit, just like 14-year-old Nani Goad.

Goad visited her family in Madison over the Thanksgiving weekend. Saturday evening found her and her family making holiday crafts at one of Madison's many local stores open for Small Business Saturday.

"I'm making a Christmas tree on this ornament," Goad described. "We wanted to do something creative."

Goad said Madison's local businesses are one of the reasons she loves visiting the city.

"There's so many cool places around here that I didn't even know were around here. You can't really find these other places, you know," Goad explained.

For many local business owners, shoppers like Goad who are already looking ahead to the next holiday are exactly what their stores need.

"For us, the holiday season is make it or break it," said Carol "Orange" Schroeder, co-owner of Orange Tree Imports on Monroe St.

Schroeder said the holiday season makes up 40 percent of her yearly sales, and starting off strong on Small Business Saturday is important.

"Small Business Saturday so far has been phenomenal, we've had so many people come out that we're optimistic about the season," Schroeder said.

A financial boost is not the only reason local businesses want shoppers to shop small. Business owners said shopping local is also good for the community.

"Local businesses are often more likely to donate to local nonprofit organizations and provide sustainable jobs and competitive wages," said Amy Moore, owner of Little Luxuries on State St.

A local store can also offer shoppers a unique experience.

"One of the biggest things is that sense of serendipity, finding something that you didn't know you were looking for," Schroeder said.

For Goad, those experiences can be a spark for her own creativity.

"I've always, since I can remember, have loved to whip something together and just put it on the wall, you know," Goad said.

Small Business Saturday nationwide saw $470 million in sales by 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

For Madison businesses, that is just the beginning. Some business owners said they rely on holiday events throughout December to bring in customers all season.