Business owners share what ‘Small Business Saturday’ means to them

SPOKANE, Wash. — With the holidays right around the corner, more and more people are heading out in search of the perfect gift- and supporting local in the process. 

This Saturday marked the first of many Small Business Saturday’s to come. Local business owners say the support is keeping people employed. 

Business is picking up for places like Sweet Frostings. But with a second shutdown, General Manager Jessica Winfrey says they’re still seeing struggles. 

“We’ve had to cut hours,” said Winfrey. “It’s really tough on our staff as well. It’s tough on us, but it’s also tough on them.” 

The store has been around for nine years. Winfrey said this year has been tough, like for so many other businesses.

“There were times where we weren’t sure if we were going to make it to 10 [years],” she said.

This year, the store had a car drive through the building and a car stolen. Winfrey said they got through it, and want to encourage people to shop local.

“Just coming in and buying a cupcake will help somebody’s kid go to gymnastics,” she explained. “So it really does make a big difference shopping small rather than big this year.”

Days like Small Business Saturday make her grateful they’re open. Before the pandemic, they opened the online store to help business. 

“We’re just really excited that people are really coming in and supporting local,” said Winfrey. 

Not everyone can say the same. According to a report from Yelp, more than 160,000 businesses have closed since August. Shoppers said they don’t want to see this happen to the community. 

“This year the businesses are really struggling obviously, and I don’t think we can help them enough, especially our small mom and pop shops,” said shopper Teresa Hughbanks. 

For many business owners, their stores are their livelihoods. 

“My husband is deceased and my daughter is my partner, and it is our income,” said Dianna Chelf, co-owner of Two Women Vintage Goods. “Shop at the local stores because, to be honest, a lot of us won’t make it. It’s very difficult.”

During the first shutdown, Chelf closed the store for three months.

“It’s picking up now for Christmas, but it’s very hard for any of the stores to play catch up after they lost that time,” she said.

They’ve been at their Union District location for two years alongside other stores and restaurants.

She said because bars and restaurants had to stop indoor dining, foot traffic in the Union District has gone down. 

“With those shutting down, it does hurt us because people like to come down here and shop then go have lunch,” Chelf said. “We’ve invested everything into this store. The coffee shop, you know, we invested everything into it, which a lot of people do so it’s extremely important.” 

 

Both Chelf and Winfrey want to encourage shopping local, not just on Small Business Saturday. 

“It’s really important to just support those people because if you don’t support them this year they might not be there next year,” said Winfrey. 

And for Chelf, she doesn’t want to see any stores close.

“We just love it and I think what keeps us going is the thought of losing our store would break our hearts,” she said.

The City of Spokane is offering some extra incentive. You can now download a Bingo card here. Once you get a BINGO, return it to Wheatland Bank for the chance to win $500 ahead of the holidays.

READ: Help us create a list of your favorite local businesses 

READ: Businesses on Maine Ave turn to ‘Small Business Saturday’ for revenue boost