From tote bags to stickers to door mats, the words “Shop Small” were emblazoned across Seward this Saturday as residents took advantage of deals all along 4th Avenue during Small Business Saturday, a nationwide celebration of local businesses.
This was the second year that the shopping holiday, hosted by the Seward Chamber of Commerce, brought together local shoppers and businesses in Seward. Nearly 20 local businesses participated by offering discounts and giveaways, whether in-store or on the phone.
“Small business is so important to our community,” Chamber Communications Manager Jen Leahy said. “It’s a big economic driver for us. The majority of our chamber members are small businesses and this is a great opportunity for us to show our support for businesses that stay open year round.”
Leahy said that the number of businesses participating this year was about the same as last, but there seemed to be more shopper participation.
“I think the promotions are more varied this year and attendance seems to be stronger than last year,” she said.
Even local pets were invited to participate, with Brown & Hawkins teaming up with Save Our Seward Pets (SOS Pets) to offer pet photos with Santa Claus to support the local animal shelter.
The fundraiser brought a line of dogs and even a few guinea pigs, building awareness and raising funds for SOS Pets through suggested donations for each photo with Santa.
“We’re here for pet advocacy, to support the shelter,” said Jane Belovarac with SOS Pets. “We do programs throughout the year for the community like classes, spay or neutering vouchers… We provide dog and cat food to the food pantry.”
The shopping holiday also raised awareness for Seward businesses open year-round.
“I hear a lot of people talk about how important having year-round business in Seward is to them,” Leahy said. “We have such a strong summer seasonal economy and I think that Small Business Saturday is a great way to encourage people to come out and get to know those businesses that they may not have dropped in to recently and to support all of our small business owners that make that commitment to be around all year.”
Shoppers, including local business owner Scott Reierson, saw the afternoon as a chance to support their community and break their Saturday routine.
“You could go and give your money away online, but when you spend it locally, it gives back and stays in the economy and it encourages social interaction among everybody,” said Reierson. “You’re reinvesting in your own community.”