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Kentucky store owners hope you will shop local on Small Business Saturday

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:21 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Traditionally, the kickoff to the holiday shopping season is Black Friday, but sandwiched in between it and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday.

The day is designed to encourage more shopping up and down Main Streets in communities across the country.

WKYT sat down with three business owners from central and eastern Kentucky to talk about shopping small this holiday season and the bigger impact it has on local communities.

Small businesses up and down Main Streets across Kentucky are preparing to roll out the red carpet for shoppers ahead of the holiday season.

From COVID shutdowns, to now staffing shortages and supply chain issues, it hasn’t been easy.

“We had to pivot, we had to make a move to stay in business frankly,” said Josh Ravenscraft, co-founder of New Frontier.

Saturday, Nov. 27, has become known as Small Business Saturday.

No one knows the importance of shopping local more than three small business owners from Cynthiana, Georgetown, and Morehead.

Each owner says they saw customers re-discover shopping small through the pandemic.

“I think a lot of people were so used to traveling outside of town for the past so many years and then everybody was kind of surprised at what our small community does offer,” said Jennifer Renaker.

Recently Amber Philpott sat down to talk with the three owners not about the challenges faced in the last year, but rather about what helped them keep the doors open.

“For us it’s been different because we started our business during the pandemic. We opened November 20, of 2020,” said Jennifer Renaker.

Renaker, the co-owner of The Next Chapter Bookstore in Cynthiana, just expanded her shop and credits a re-discovering Main Street attitude in customers for helping in their growth.

“When we opened our business last November a lot of places were shut down, people were afraid to go out of town because of the pandemic, and for us it worked out really well because a lot of people were at home,” said Renaker.

New Frontier, a clothing brand based in Morehead, was about being comfortable with change.

“I think we leaned into that discomfort and we trusted that something good would come out of it,” said Ravenscraft.

With a brick and mortar store, New Frontier found business growing online and embraced it during the pandemic.

“One good thing that I know came out of it is our customers were really comfortable with shopping online, that digital transformation that came after COVID which is where we are still going through right now,” said Ravenscraft.

In Georgetown, Maime’s Fine Wine and Gifts is just one store in a thriving downtown business district.

Owner Anne Arnold-Ratliff prides herself on knowing her customers, which she says is a small business perk.

“When you give the perfect gift you know someone, you are listening to them and we know most of those people,” said Arnold-Ratliff

She too made a digital transformation, turning to social media to meet her customers where they are.

“So we went largely to videoing what we were doing, we sell a lot of gourmet foods. Basically, we were able to make those foods, which completely changed honestly our business in general, people really wanted to see what we were selling,” said Arnold-Ratliff.

With Small Business Saturday this weekend, these business owners are hoping to cash in.

Last year American Express said shoppers spent nearly $20 billion on the same weekend and 56% said they shopped small online.

While customers mean a profit, the small business owners we interviewed are also aware of the win-win it creates for their communities.

“I know people say it all the time, shop local, but what that really means when you think of it, in each community, each town we have our small businesses is that money stays in the community,” said Ravenscraft.

This holiday season these business owners hope when you make your list and check it twice, you think local wherever you are.

“For me shopping local, not only are you keeping money in your community, but you are also supporting someone’s dream and to me I don’t how much better than that can get,” said Renaker.

American Express also estimates that for every dollar spent at a small business an average of 67 cents goes back to the local community.

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