Area shoppers may want to save some of their Black Friday bucks for Saturday.
There are numerous local stores that qualify to participate in a special deal being offered via American Express' Small Business Saturday program, begun in 2010 to help highlight independently owned establishments during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
The charge-card company is giving card members the opportunity to get a $25 statement credit when they enroll their eligible American Express card and use it to spend $25 or more in a single in-store transaction at a qualifying small business.
"Black Friday has traditionally been such a boon for larger retailers out there," said Kevin Malecek, president and CEO of the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It's important to remember that mom-and-pop stores are a driver of the local economy.
"A lot of the small business don't have the marketing capacity or budget of the larger retailers and chain restaurants, but they are also essential and vibrant parts of our business community."
The chamber is partnering with the city on its cable TV ad campaign for small businesses and is a distribution point for a limited supply of Small Business Saturday welcome mats.
Nearly 90 merchants in Mentor are participating in Small Business Saturday, from restaurants such as Skye, Pizza Market, Jimmy's Backyard BBQ and Mama Roberto's to retailers including Amish Attic, the Old Mentor Cigar Shop, World of Wine and The Country Peddler. The list also includes such services as Ladies & Gentlemen and Little Mountain Salon.
"I think the 'shop local' or 'shop small' campaign is gaining momentum," Mentor Economic Development Director Ronald M. Traub said.
"More businesses are participating, more people are talking about it, recognizing contributions small businesses make to society.
"Can you get something cheaper on the Internet? Yeah, frequently you can, but the impact on the local economy is zero."
He said big retailers invest locally by paying rent and employees, but a majority of proceeds go back to a corporate entity, oftentimes in another state. Not so with local, independent businesses.
"Those dollars are recycled into the local community," Traub said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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