Baton Rouge area mom-and-pop stores want to feel the retail love on Small Business Saturday / The Times Picayune

As the dust settles on the floors of big box stores and malls from Grey Thursday and Black Friday shopping, area business owners and leaders are encouraging consumers to spread a little wealth to their local mom-and-pop retailers.

Small Business Saturday, sandwiched in between two of the biggest shopping days of the season—Black Friday and Cyber Monday—was started by American Express in 2010 and is aimed at getting consumers to shop local.

An estimated 82 percent of U.S. consumers plan to buy local on Nov. 29 this year, according to the American Express Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

“We’ve always participated in Small Business Saturday,” said Ashley Parker, manager at McLavy Ltd. men’s clothing store in the Bocage Village Shopping Center on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Her father opened the business in 1979.

Last year, Small Business Saturday sales reached $5.7 billion, up from the $5.5 billion stores made in 2012, according to American Express.

“It’s good to support local businesses,” Parker added. “I think local businesses do more for local charities, they’re more personal with the things they do for the community. They know the community better.”

Statistically, Parker’s assertions are spot-on.

Small businesses comprise 99.7 percent of U.S. employers and 64 percent of net new private sector jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Locally, “small businesses make up 99 percent of Baton Rouge Area establishments, and are a vital driver of the region’s rapidly expanding economy,” said Flynn Foster, president and CEO of Guaranty Corporation and head of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Small Business Council.

BRAC recently released its updated business guide in anticipation of Small Business Saturday.

The National Federation of Independent Business shares that more than 90 percent of small business owners have contributed to their communities over the last year through in-kind donations, volunteering and/or direct cash donations.

Furthermore, the bulk of the taxes drawn from those purchases stay local. According to Texas and Illinois-based research firm Civic Economics, for $100 you spend:

  • In a local small business, $68 stays in your community
  • At a local branch or a national or regional chain store, $43 remains in the community
  • Online, virtually no money stays local.

This year, Lagniappe Records on St. Joseph Street in Baton Rouge is offering 15 percent off all vintage vinyl. Owner Tess Brunet said last year, sales increased by more than 20 percent on Small Business Saturday. But although the spike in sales was welcomed, she encourages shoppers not to forget about the mom-and-pops during the course of the year.

“People should shop small all the time. Not just on Small Business Saturday,” she said.

Information on some of the Baton Rouge area businesses participating in Small Business Saturday is available at the Shop Small website.

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