Small shops across Aurora gear up for Small Business Saturday, holiday shopping season

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AURORA | Lined up neatly near the front entrance of Adventure Cycling sits a sure sign that the Christmas shopping season has arrived: children’s bikes.

Erik Swanson, owner of the 31-year-old Aurora bike shop on Parker Road near East Quincy Avenue, said even after a few years that saw kids’ bikes sell slower than in previous years, he thinks this year more parents are angling to get their young ones into bicycling.

“For a couple years everyone was video game-centric,” he said looking at the array of striders, 20-inch bikes and others lined up by the entrance. “Now we are starting to see the kids get back into it.”

Like thousands of small and large businesses around the country, Adventure Cycling is gearing up for the coming weeks with new inventory and high hopes for the holiday season.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 135 million people are expected to shop this holiday weekend, up from 133 million a year ago.

While the bulk of that shopping is expected to occur on Black Friday at national chain and big-box stores that boast uber-cheap deals for shoppers willing to battle a crowd, small businesses are trying to eke out a piece of the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping pie.

According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses — which launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 with the help of American Express — 35 percent of shoppers surveyed said they will do their holiday shopping at small businesses, and 55 percent are aware of the Small Business Saturday push.

“Small Business Saturday has grown every year, and it’s been a big boost to Main Street America,” NFIB CEO and President Dan Danner said in a statement.

Last year, 88 million shoppers spent $14.3 billion on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express. The same report found that 77 percent of shoppers will do some of their shopping at local stores.

Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for NFIB, said the day is important because it helps shoppers remember smaller, local companies in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“Often times small business get overlooked, people flock to the malls and big box stores,” he said.

Gagliardi said shopping at local businesses can also be better for the local economy because close to 70 cents from every dollar spent at a local business stays in the local economy, while only about 40 cents from every dollar spent at a chain retailer stays local.

Still, the campaign’s efforts haven’t seemed to take hold in Aurora. While there are 3,500 different companies involved and events planned for Small Business Saturday, none of them are planned in Aurora. John McLaughlin, a spokesman for NFIB, said not every participating business registers their event with NFIB.

Gagliardi said he recognizes that in suburban areas such as Aurora, where much of the retail scene is dominated by big chain stores, shopping locally can be challenging.

If shoppers can’t find a local retailer selling the gifts they’re looking for, Gagliardi said they can always at least try to grab lunch at a locally owned restaurant while they’re shopping.

“Small business is the true engine of the economy,” he said.

At the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, president Kevin Hougen said officials steer clear of endorsing Small Business Saturday and instead encourage shoppers to shop at local business year round.

While small businesses are crucial, Hougen said the Chamber doesn’t want to send a message that they are discouraging people from shopping at big-box retailers too.

“Those are important for us also,” he said.

At Adventure Cycling, Swanson said he doesn’t worry too much about shoppers opting to buy a bike from a big retailer instead of a shop like his. In fact, Swanson said he offers cheap “safety checks” for bikes purchased elsewhere if the rider or their parent wants to make sure the bike was assembled properly and is ready to hit the road. Regardless of where they buy the bike this season, Swanson said he is just happy to see people ride.

“We just want people to get excited about biking,” he said.

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Mcs Vette
Mcs Vette
6 years ago

Biggest Problem, IMO, is Auroran’s live in Aurora, but spend money elsewhere.