Nicole Decaestecker didn't mind waiting 30 minutes for a table at Rising Son in Avondale Estates on Saturday morning. She took advantage of the time to check out — and support — Garage Door Studio, a nearby small business serving cups of "Cherry Christmas" tea and samples of locally made chocolate.
Saturday wasn't just any Saturday. It was Small Business Saturday, created in 2010 by credit card giant American Express and now a fixture of the holiday shopping weekend.
"This place is so cute and has such a variety of unique things," said Decaestecker of Decatur, who bought a handmade organic teething ring for her daughter. "And you don't feel bad about spending money because it goes back into the community."
Almost the opposite of Black Friday — the day people flock to big-box retailers or buy online for advertised deals — Small Business Saturday celebrates local entrepreneurs and small businesses. The "shop local" day also comes before Cyber Monday, an annual day designed to encourage holiday shoppers to go online.
Small businesses across metro Atlanta marked the day with specials and treats, cookies and cocktails — and high hopes for the all-important holiday season. Little Five Points small businesses offered $5 items and hosted a snow machine for added ambience. In the West End, museums including the Wren's Nest offered free admission. And in Decatur, Found Co. Decatur hosted a book signing event for "The Deep End of Flavor: Recipes and Stories from New Orleans' Premier Seafood Chef" by Tenney Flynn with Susan Puckett and provided an impressive spread featuring recipes from the book — homemade gumbo, smoked trout dip and maple bourbon pralines.
An average of 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the local community, according to the latest Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express. Small Business Saturday spending had reached a reported estimate of $103 billion over the nine Saturdays since the day began in 2010, according to the study from American Express. In a separate 2018 study, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express found that roughly 90 percent of consumers believe it's more important than ever to support local retailers.
At Garage Door Studio, a steady stream of customers perused the shop featuring handcrafted, locally made jewelry, candles, pillows and baby onesies.
Jen Singh, co-owner of Garage Door Studio, said, "It is very meaningful day for us. By putting a spotlight on small business, the special day can attract customers who may have never visited the store before, she said.
Co-owner Rachel Herzog said sales last year on Small Business Saturday were three times an average Saturday.
Sipping on a bloody mary, Brandie Stephens of Decatur bought a couple of birthday gifts including a platter and a signed cookbook at Found Co. Decatur on Saturday. She also looked at orchid arrangements and handcrafted porcelain pottery.
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