By Jessica Penman
When Black Friday rolls around this holiday season, don’t think big … think small! The day after Thanksgiving has become synonymous with bargain hunting, doorbusters, and long lines at big box retail stores. In more recent years, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have also become staple days for holiday season sales.
While these high-traffic shopping days are crucial for stores’ revenue to be in the black, they also play a vital role in the economic well-being of towns and small businesses across the United States. That includes all of us right here in Truckee and the Lake Tahoe region, where small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.
According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, Black Friday in-store retail sales increased 12% from 2021 to 2022, with the National Retail Foundation reporting that more than 72.9 million people made trips to brick-and-mortar shopping locations. How can we ensure that the dollars we are spending on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday are filtered back into the communities in which we live? By shopping at the mom-and-pop stores that line our streets.
Truckee and the Tahoe region are unique in the number of small businesses that exist here, and we are fortunate that money spent locally directly impacts our community.
“[It’s] important to continue to encourage our community to shop locally and inform them of what that means and how much of their purchase stays in the community versus when shopping on Amazon or in Reno and how much of that purchase never impacts our community,” said Dave Polivy, owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports and Tahoe Mountain Life.
The town’s official website states that Truckee sees roughly $6 million in sales revenue a year, making it one of the many driving forces that help our community thrive. When you shop locally, your dollars are invested back into the community. So when it comes to days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, look beyond the big box stores and visit our local businesses, which also offer specials and count on revenue generated on these mega-sales days.
“Wild & Ruff is open for 12 hours on Black Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Jamie Vine, owner of the pet goods store in downtown Truckee. “We love to kick off the holiday season with extended hours and some great in-store-only deals. We also do some online offers to our customer base as well.”
As Black Friday has evolved a bit over the years, Vine now puts out some of Wild & Ruff’s deals throughout the holiday shopping season.
While online shopping was big before 2020, it skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to Reuters, 2022 Black Friday e-commerce sales reached $9.12 billion, up 2.3% from 2021. Local business owners can position themselves to be more competitive by ramping up their cyber presence, ensuring they have an easy-to-use e-commerce site and promoting exclusively online deals with discounted shipping or pickup in-store. Throughout the entirety of last year’s holiday shopping period, website traffic increased 1.5 times compared to other months. There is no reason our local businesses shouldn’t reap some of this benefit.
This holiday season, the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association is bringing back Festive Fridays as a means to entice both locals and visitors to patronize stores along Commercial Row during December. On Fridays, Dec. 1, 8, and 15, shoppers can enjoy free parking and fun events, including a gift card giveaway and a Polar Express pajama party.
Local business owners have made one thing clear: Black Friday is great, but we need to be doing more to support those shop owners who have been brave enough to open a physical location here.
Lisa Gotts, owner of local brand shop California 89, suggests looking at what similar-sized towns do to draw people into their commercial core and retail locations.
“We need more happenings in the offseason and during the winter,” she said. “Food truck Fridays? Fall Oktoberfest event? Pumpkin carving, sidewalk chalk event … maybe look at what other small towns are doing to bring folks downtown.”
Gallery 5830 owner Sara Dube said while it’s easy to view our communities as thriving, it’s often because we typically see how busy they can be when there are visitors in town.
“We would like to impress on the locals that shopping downtown is much more fun, environmentally friendly, and important to Truckee than buying on Amazon,” Dube said. All the shops downtown are locally owned and operated by people that care about our community, and it makes sense to keep the money flowing locally.”
When you shop where you live, your dollars stay in the community, helping to create jobs, keep our streets vibrant, and support economic vitality. This Black Friday, Nov. 24, and throughout the holiday season, visit your favorite local brick-and-mortar stores, shop online at their websites, or purchase gift cards to encourage others to patronize local businesses. Happy Shopping!
~ Jessica Penman joined the Truckee Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO in October 2022. She is excited to make sure the chamber continues to be the voice of business and a champion for our community. When not working, she loves hiking with her boyfriend, paddleboarding and playing with their puppy, Auggie, and reading far too many books.
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Every community benefits when you choose to shop locally. When you set out to start checking off things on your holiday shopping list, be sure to show some local love and support your neighbors on Small Business Saturday. The Tahoe City Downtown Association works to champion the #ShopSmall movement in Tahoe City. While TCDA believes that everyone should do their part and support local businesses every day of the year, celebrating Small Business Saturday and the holiday season with a fun kickoff and Small Business Showcase is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit.
Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25
#ShopSmall Week runs Nov. 25 – Dec. 2
Do you own a business and want to participate? Learn more at shorturl.at/nMNX8
Check visittahoecity.org for updates and a list of what special deals, offers, events, and promotions they will be running on Small Business Saturday and during #ShopSmall Week.