Macomb County shops make big deal of Small Business Saturday

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published November 19, 2014

 Gloria Kinne, owner of Circare, a St. Clair Shores-based gift shop, holds up a whimsical Christmas stuffed animal. Circare is one of many Macomb County businesses that will offer discounts, deals and refreshments on Small Business Saturday Nov. 29.

Gloria Kinne, owner of Circare, a St. Clair Shores-based gift shop, holds up a whimsical Christmas stuffed animal. Circare is one of many Macomb County businesses that will offer discounts, deals and refreshments on Small Business Saturday Nov. 29.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Shop local retailers
In 2013, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development created a database of approximately 1,600 independent retailers throughout the county. It can be searched by category of merchandise or location. Visit www.makemacombyourhome.com/shoplocal.

MACOMB COUNTY — It’s called Small Business Saturday, and Nov. 29 will mark the fourth year of American Express’s nationwide campaign to increase patronage to locally owned shops and restaurants.

Gloria Kinne, owner of Circare, a St. Clair Shores-based gift shop specializing in hand-crafted goods from local and American artists, said Small Business Saturday has been her business’s busiest day of the year for the last two years, and she forecasted another big day Nov. 29.

“(The second year, in 2011), we went from (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) being a good Saturday, but not great, to being the single best day we had ever had, exceeding our best day by, like, 40 percent,” Kinne said.

While she said she has a tremendous number of American Express charges on Small Business Saturday, since the credit card company offers a special credit, Kinne said the number is less than half of her total sales.

“People are supporting small business, whether they have an American Express card or not. They like the idea of supporting local, and it’s exciting,” Kinne said. “It’s a day designed for the public to celebrate and support small, independent business as the backbone of our economy, which it is.”

Kinne said Circare celebrated its 27th anniversary in October, and she launched the gift shop to showcase artists’ talent and imagination. Growing up following her mother, an artist, to art fairs, Kinne said she wanted to share a more convenient, sheltered and permanent experience with her customers.

Circare offers an eclectic mix of everything, she said, including Christmas and holiday décor and ornaments, fun and unusual stocking stuffers, stained glass, fashion accessories, toys, garden pieces, and more.

On Nov. 29, she said, her store will offer special discounts and deals, door prizes, raffles, and refreshments.

Michelle Weiss, the marketing and events coordinator for the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority, said Mount Clemens has participated since the initiation of Small Business Saturday in 2010 and that the event continues to grow.

This year, she said, the DDA received more promotional swag from American Express than ever before to deck out the downtown Nov. 29 — door mats for participating businesses to welcome customers, canvas shopping bags, a banner for the downtown, posters, balloons, stickers, decals, buttons, pens and more.

“We focus all year long on shopping and buying small and trying to keep our dollars here in the community. This is a big day for us,” Weiss said. “The beauty of buying local and shopping local is you’re keeping the local people employed.”

Weiss said about 15-16 retailers and local restaurants in downtown Mount Clemens will participate in Small Business Saturday, offering deals, discounts, raffles and refreshments, including apple cider and doughnuts.

“We offer great services, and all our businesses know and cater to our customers, (as opposed to big box stores) with thousands of customers and clerks who don’t know who you are,”she said.

She added that shopping at locally owned shops and restaurants is a relaxing alternative to the madness of Black Friday.

“People are in a good mood because it’s not so crazy,” Weiss said. “I’m very passionate about (shopping local). Personally, I have owned two small businesses over the years, and we exist because of the customers.”

For more information about Small Business Saturday, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small.