The days of sitting outside big box stores during the cold morning after Thanksgiving may be over, based on reports from around the country and chats with employees from major retailers in Gilroy, which revealed that there was little to no rush among holiday shoppers hoping to snag a deal.
Early estimates say the push toward online sales throughout November may have kept people indoors to purchase those air fryers or hard-to-find PlayStation 5s.
Whatever the reason, there are encouraging signs for local small businesses who hope to get a slice of that pie.
Nov. 26 was known as “Small Business Saturday,” a moniker promoted by the U.S. Small Business Association and other retail organizations to encourage people to support smaller, independent companies during the holiday rush.
American Express created the Small Business Saturday campaign in 2010, occurring the day after the so-called “Black Friday,” as a way to bring awareness to the small mom-and-pop stores in a season dominated by big box and online retailers.
According to an early survey by American Express, the campaign is growing. Overall, Small Business Saturday drove an estimated $17.9 billion in 2022, based on projections from U.S. consumer reported spending, with more than two-thirds of shoppers strongly agreeing they will continue to support small businesses throughout the holiday season because of the impact it has on their local community, according to American Express.
In Gilroy, shoppers had plenty of reasons to shop small in the days after Thanksgiving, with downtown businesses such as Artemex, Caldwell’s Comics & Cards and Predator’s Archery offering discounts on their various products.
The Gilroy Center for the Arts held its Arts & Crafts Holiday Boutique, where artists and crafters filled the center located at the corner of Monterey and Seventh streets, offering deals on unique, handcrafted gifts.
Arturo Gaspar of south San Jose hosted a booth at the craft fair, where he offered his handcrafted pieces made from discarded wood such as bedposts, tree branches and more, along with a series of painted rocks representing different cultures.
Gaspar said this was his first time participating in an event at the art center, and added he learned about it through Gilroy artist Nacho Moya, who recently hosted an exhibit there.
He noted that he’s been exploring Gilroy, meeting artists and checking out the various murals around the city, adding that he may complete a garlic-themed painted rock soon.
“I got to meet a lot of very wonderful people,” Gaspar said. “It’s a tight-knit community.”