County urged to shop local on ‘Small Business Saturday’ - Republic-Times | News

County urged to shop local on ‘Small Business Saturday’

By on November 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

As Thanksgiving approaches, along with the prime holiday shopping season, advocates of small and local businesses are urging shoppers to spend part of their gift-giving budget with them.

This Saturday, Nov. 24, is known across the country as “Small Business Saturday,” an initiative to encourage consumers to do a portion of their holiday shopping at smaller retailers.

The promotion, first launched in 2010, is timed to follow the “Black Friday” sales promotions of the big national retailers.

Small businesses make up 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs created in Illinois. A U.S. Labor Department study in 2009 showed that if half the buying population spent $50 a month at locally-owned businesses, it would generate an additional $42.6 billion in revenue.

Both Columbia and Waterloo are getting behind the “Small Business Saturday” effort.

During Monday’s city council meeting, Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 24 as “Small Business Saturday” in Columbia. The proclamation calls for all local residents to make a concerted effort to support the local small business community on that day and throughout the holiday shopping season.

Hutchinson read the proclamation at the beginning of the meeting, and invited all owners or managers of small businesses to attend and introduce their business.

The City of Waterloo is also encouraging its residents to shop local on Saturday, inviting the community to take part in the 31st annual Historic Waterloo Christmas Walk.

The walk actually begins Friday night with the lighting of the Courthouse Bandstand and a performance by Monroe Actors Stage Company at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, downtown merchants such as A World of Difference, Bountiful Blossoms, Clark’s Country Oaks, Crown Frozen Custard, Raccoon Hollow Fabrics, Echoes of the Past Antiques and more are offering $500 in merchant script certificates when customers get a card stamped by all participating businesses.

Then at 5:30 p.m., the newly formed Great Ladies of Waterloo group is sponsoring Waterloo’s first Lighted Holiday Parade through downtown. Email for more information.

Complimentary carriage rides will be offered both Saturday and Sunday as part of the Waterloo Christmas Walk. For more information, call 939-5300.

While it falls on Sunday, the idea is the same as the City of Columbia hosts its Christmas Cruise from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A total of $1,000 in prizes are available to those who shop at participating Columbia businesses as part of the cruise, including an IPad 2, a 32-inch flat screen TV, and a Kindle Fire.

Visit or call 281-7467 for more details.

“As you head out the door on Black Friday, or any other day during this holiday shopping season, please consider patronizing you local businesses first,” said U of I Extension Office Community and Economic Development Educator Nora Feuquay, who helps run the Think Monroe County First program. “We know you can’t buy everything you need in Monroe County, and those ‘door buster’ sales are really enticing, but remember who helps pay for the services we all enjoy in Monroe County and who donates to your child’s sports team or club… local businesses!”

To read more about “Small Business Saturday,” visit online at

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.