Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday.
The promotion was created by American Express in 2010 to give attention to brick-and-mortar stores.
“Anything that helps encourage folks to buy local and shop local is a good thing,” said Queens Chamber of Commerce President Tom Grech, who noted that American Express’ new president and CEO, Stephen Squeri, grew up in Queens and graduated from Monsignor McClancy High School.
Some business groups in Queens are taking an active role in marking the event and promoting area merchants.
The Jamaica Center Business Improvement District is in its second year of participation, giving businesses the opportunity to latch onto a larger campaign.
“The issue with small businesses, of course, is that they’re so busy running businesses so that’s why it’s really helpful to have a BID or a chamber of commerce or a local developing corporation that can do you the legwork to get the campaign materials and broadcast it,” said Jennifer Furioli, executive director for the Jamaica Center BID.
She said when she walked down Jamaica Avenue recently with Trey Jenkins, the director of marketing and business services for the BID, they realized almost every business they featured in the campaign was family-owned.
One was run by a pair of cousins. Another was owned by a mother and son. Two sisters owned another business.
Furioli said it showed the businesses were a family’s livelihood, not just that of the community at large.
“To me, that just made it more of a personal thing, that there’s a lot of investment in these families,” she said.
Across the borough, Shop Small Astoria will host its fifth annual SBS Retail Crawl with more than 20 participating retailers. Shoppers who purchase items at six or more stores are entered to win a grand prize and if shoppers make purchases from 10 stores, they receive an Astoria tote illustrated by an area artist.
Nicole Panettieri, owner of The Brass Owl, began Shop Small Astoria in 2015 “to unite the local boutiques in the neighborhood and promote the amazing shopping opportunities we have here,” she said in a release for the event.
The Long Island City BID’s holiday shopping guide breaks down the area and also says which businesses will be participating in SBS. A shopper could, for instance, could go to Lucy Pizza, have dessert at TastÈ Creme and then go to Book Culture and catch up on some reading.
Individual businesses also may offer their own specials. One example is Kew & Willow Books on Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens. All new releases will be 15 percent off and customers can win a prize if they answer one book-related question at the literary trivia wheel.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) spoke about the importance of the day in reminding people to shop small.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhood, so it is imperative that when we are doing our holiday shopping that we spread some of the love to the local stores,” he said in a statement.