Local Businesses Prepare for "Small Business Saturday"

YAKIMA, WA – The gift certificates have been awarded, the totes given out, and feedback from the businesses received, and by most accounts, the initial Downtown Yakima Small Business Saturday was a substantial success, providing the framework for even bigger years ahead.

“The most important aspect was to do it, to get that first year under our belt so folks could see the potential for the day," says Downtown Association of Yakima Executive Director, Andrew Holt. “We achieved that, but we were surprisingly pleased at how well the event did in its first year. One of our participating businesses had a record sales day, and several others experienced some of their best days ever.”

Using the national Small Business Saturday campaign of American Express as a backdrop, the Downtown Association of Yakima (DAY) coordinated a local promotion for the first time that included 17 participating businesses and featured a passport promotion with raffle winners, complimentary Shop Small/Downtown Yakima shopping totes with purchase, and special Small Business Saturday sales and activities in participating businesses.

Shoppers participating in the promotion picked up a passport at the first business they entered. If they visited a minimum of 5 participating businesses and could show at least one receipt of purchase, they were entered into a drawing for 1 of 17 gift certificates provided by the participating businesses. In all, 50 valid passports were turned in.

“Like all first-year events, we learned a lot and there was a spectrum of success,” said Holt. “The ACS Discovery Shop almost tripled their all-time high for Saturday sales. MAK Daddy Coffee Roasters, who for the first time had a sale on roasted coffee beans, had a top ten selling day. Vintage Me, had a very strong day, as did WildJay, Adore Décor, and Crafted. Although some businesses did not have phenomenal sales days, they expressed that it was substantially busier than if we had not held Small Business Saturday.”

“What we saw was that boutiques, gift shops, interior décor, and specialty shops did very well. Larger ticket item stores did not see as much foot traffic as we would desire and that is an equation we need to work on. But most businesses reported seeing plenty of new faces, and conversely, a lot of shoppers said that they visited many shops for the first time, which is the main goal of the day,” adds Holt.

“Another main goal is to see the folks walking downtown with their bags and maps and achieving a sense of activity with participants lingering downtown. For a first year, we captured that to a certain extent. Obviously, we want to see that grow with many more businesses involved and many more folks participating so that it becomes a “can’t miss day” on people’s holiday calendar.”

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