For years, the Small Business Saturday event has invited customers to browse through local shops and see what they have to offer. This year, the Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce and Superior Business Improvement District are stretching the annual promotion over an entire week.
More than 40 businesses are participating in Shop Small Superior Week, which kicks off Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 5. They will be offering specials, deals and giveaways all week long.
Shannon Johnson of Shannon's Stained Glassery in Superior's South End neighborhood, said she likes the switch to a longer format.
“It spreads it out more so people don’t feel like it’s a big rush and they have to deal with crowds,” she said.
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The weeklong event offers customers the gift of time, according to Belknap Liquor and Lounge co-owner Al Jaques. It also encourages them to invest in the community.
“I believe it means more to the local owners who reinvest back into the community every dollar that you spend with us,” he said. “It’s just hugely important, keeping those local dollars here.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected both businesses and customers. For Johnson, it means fewer people taking classes, although supply sales have been brisk. While the Belknap Lounge has been extremely quiet lately, sales have been steady at the liquor store. Safety is their top priority, Jaques said.
Becky Scherf, owner of Lady Outlaw Vintage, a pop-up store at the Trade and Commerce Building, said she thinks it's especially important to shop local this year.
She encouraged people to check out the many stores that offer repurposed, recycled and secondhand items.
“It’s more inexpensive to buy secondhand and you’re supporting local business owners instead of supporting corporations for your Christmas shopping,” Scherf said. “And that’s not just for me, that’s for everybody. If you’re going to order out, try to make it one of our local restaurants here.”
Downtown is a good place to start shopping small. According to the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, 90% of downtown businesses in the state are locally owned.
Small Business Week is just a jumping-off point for customers, said Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary Missy Hughes.
"There are lots of simple ways people can support local businesses throughout the year,” she said. “You can buy goods from a neighborhood shop. Give social shoutouts to your favorite places. Or just tip a bit more when you can.
Despite the pandemic's effects, some local businesses are paying it forward.
At Shade in Lake Nebagamon, gnomes fashioned out of pine boughs are for sale. Half the proceeds from the greenery gnomes will go to The Ruth House in Superior, which serves people who are homeless.
Johnson will be collecting gift cards for Bryant Elementary School families in need through mid-December at Shannon's Stained Glassery. Even just $5-10 can help.
"Small things create big change, " Johnson said.
- Shannon's Stained Glassery, 5904 Tower Ave., will offer to-go ornament kits customers can paint at home and 15% off giftware. Saturday will be even more jolly, as Santa is expected to visit the store from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Customers who mention Shop Small Superior during the week can get 10% off any wine at Belknap Liquor Store or two mimosas for $7 at the lounge.
- The first 25 people in the door at Shade get a free tote, and those who spend $25 or more can snag a free gift with their purchase.
- Lady Outlaw Vintage will offer a buy one, get one 50% off sale on Saturday only.
Visit the chamber website for a full list of participating businesses and their specials.