Troy businesses prepare for Small Business Saturday

By: Mike Koury | Troy Times | Published November 24, 2021

 Coleen Betts, of Sarah’s Cakes and Candy Supplies, checks out regular customer Dawn Crump. Businesses such as Sarah’s Cakes and Candy Supplies is one of the many  Troy businesses hoping for a lot of action on Small Business Saturday.

Coleen Betts, of Sarah’s Cakes and Candy Supplies, checks out regular customer Dawn Crump. Businesses such as Sarah’s Cakes and Candy Supplies is one of the many Troy businesses hoping for a lot of action on Small Business Saturday.

Photo provided by Jo Hudock

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TROY — Every year, on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, customers and patrons celebrate small businesses around the country with Small Business Saturday.

This year, on Saturday, Nov. 27, many businesses will encourage the public to patronize small and locally owned businesses with special deals, open houses or other attractions.

Tara Tomcsik-Husak, the president and CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, said that although Troy is home to many chains and big box stores, there are still lots of ways people can shop locally and keep their dollars in the Troy community.

“There are many great independent retailers that people can support,” she remarked. “But there are many ways to shop local that people forget about, like getting a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant or an overnight stay at a hotel. Creating a shopping ‘staycation’ helps our business community as a whole as these industries also struggled over the past few years.”

Jo Hudock, the manager of Sarah’s Cakes and Candy Supplies, said that this can be a very important weekend for local stores as people follow Black Friday by looking for more local deals.

“It’s very important,” she said. “A lot of our customers try to shop those small businesses after Thanksgiving. We put out promotions and deals. I try to solicit small businesses, myself.”

Small Business Saturday is considered by some to be an answer to Black Friday for local businesses. It can be just as significant a day for many businesses.

“The holiday season, in a normal business year, makes up a significant portion of our revenue,” explained Sumit Bansal, the owner of the Hand and Stone Massage Center. “Spa gift cards are such a common gift to give, and from Black Friday through all of December is a big time for buying those. We have deals for items at 50% off or buy one get one free, and that drives our business going into the following year. Because we have done a good job this year, all things considered, things are looking better, but our revenue is still below average.”

This year’s busy pre-holiday season has been complicated by the lingering concerns of COVID-19. Although people are out and about  much more, the economic havoc and supply chain issues brought about by the pandemic are still causing problems for many businesses.

“It’s very scary right now. It’s hard for vendors to get products,” said Hudock. “Vendors are having trouble getting their stock in. Halloween was good. Thanksgiving is looking good, but we’re hoping our luck doesn’t run out.”

“The last year and half has been very tricky and had lots of ups and downs,” added Bansal. “I’m happy a lot of that is behind us, even if it does have a lasting impact. We are trending in the right direction. We are able to offer massages, facials and hair removal services all the same way we used to.”

Bansal also said that the last year and a half has been difficult due to fewer people taking hourly jobs, which is common in many locally owned businesses. He is optimistic things are picking up and that the worst is over.

“Business in the first half of the year was extremely tough, and a lot of customers were very hesitant to come in, and we had a big shortage of employees,” he said. “I think we took a lot of effort to encourage people to come in. With the gift card season coming up, we have been able to overcome that employee shortage. We still have less than we had two years ago, but it’s close to those past numbers.”

A common theme among many local businesses is that they credit their survival through COVID to loyal customers from the community. Bansal said that Small Business Saturday is an extension of the attitude that kept his business operating.

“One thing we did was sticking to our core values, communicated with our clients, and were transparent with our client base, so most of them stayed with us,” he said. “For my clientele, at the end of the day, the way we earn our bread and butter is our local clients. Even if we are a chain, we are locally owned, and we rely on people in the Troy-area community for our business.”

The hope of many local and small businesses is that this year’s Small Business Saturday will mark a rebound for institutions like theirs.

“It’s for the whole community,” Hudock said. “Especially after COVID, small businesses are suffering, and small businesses help the whole community. If you help small businesses, it helps the community grow.”

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