Small Business Saturday rallies consumers around Denver businesses

Hubs like Cherry Creek North, Larimer Square build community of businesses


In recent years, Black Friday has become a massive, practically month-long endeavor where some of the country’s largest retailers offer all kinds of deals and promotions. But for the more than 600,000 small businesses across Colorado, Small Business Saturday is the day truly worth celebrating.

“Small Business Saturday is incredibly important for small bookstores, because it tends to be one of the biggest days of our year,” said Mariana Calderon, store manager at Second Star to the Right books and gifts, located on South Pearl Street. “Especially in the last four years, people seem to need to go back to roots of community building, and bookstores are a pretty important part of any community.”

Created by American Express in 2010, this year’s Small Business Saturday fell on Nov. 30, and businesses all over the city will celebrated with special activities, sales and more. Both Larimer Square and Cherry Creek North promoted participating businesses to increase visitors.

“We try to encourage as many businesses as possible to participate with discounts, celebrations and promotions. When they decide to participate, they get listed in our marketing materials, so we can get the word out about them,” said Jenny Starkey, senior director of marketing and community relations with Cherry Creek North. “What’s so wonderful about Cherry Creek North is the amount of partnerships that we see form around our small businesses, and that community goes a long way to explain why small businesses want to open here.”

Abram Sloss, executive director of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, said that Small Business Saturday is special not only because it incentivizes people to support local and independent businesses, but because it celebrates the people who have taken a risk by starting their own business and are helping to power the economy.

“Seeing the number of small businesses in Colorado really brings out why they are the backbone of the economy,” he said. “This is a way to celebrate the individuals who want to start a business. And given the time of year, it is valuable for the community, business owners, and for consumers to be reminded how important it is to shop at local stores.”

Every business that participated marked the day in their own way. Second Star featured a special, space-themed story time with local authors, while shoppers in Cherry Creek North had the chance to win Cherry Creek North Gift Cards, accepted at nearly 170 businesses. And new businesses like Cherry Creek’s Blank Barbers, owned by Zackery Jarmon, used discounts to invite people to check out their shop.

“I love the community and people more than anything, and barbershops are great because they reflect their neighborhood very well,” Jarmon said. “When I heard about the Small Business Saturday program, I thought we’d participate because it brings people together.”

For the people who take a lot of pride in their community, Calderon explained, the day is a chance to get out of their houses and support the businesses that make their neighborhoods unique in the first place,

With such a diversity of businesses all over the city celebrating Small Business Saturday, including 175 in Cherry Creek North alone, shoppers were likely able to seek out whatever they need for the season. No matter what kind of services the business offers, there is one thing that unites them — they’re owned and operated by people directly in the community.

“What’s great about these small businesses is you’re not just supporting the economy, but your community,” Starkey said. “You’re supporting your friends, family, neighbors and loved ones who are employed at these businesses.”


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