HONOLULU (KHON2) – Saturday marks half of what is considered the winning trifecta of holiday shopping: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Each day focuses on a different demographic with Small Business Saturday intended to push customers to buy – in most cases – local.
Lanikai Bath and Body owner, Brook Gramann, said the promotion helped.
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“Just having something to say is new, to say ‘Thank you’ to our customers, it makes it possible to do business,” Gramann explained.
Gramann said its sales were up 20 to 25 percent more from 2020.
Nalani McLaughlin, owner of Pineapple Red to Kaimuki, said she also feels love.
Some small towns, like Kaimuki, have capitalized on Small Business Saturday by developing their own promotion.
Honolulu resident Tacyn Costa said she was keen to support small businesses.
“COVID, it’s put a lot of small stores, owners, bankrupt so my girlfriends and I are trying to support the community,” Costa said.
Boosting business is exactly what store owners need after the pandemic devastates the economy.
Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki said small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus.
“They had to shut down, especially on Oahu, twice,” Yamaki said.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, at least 13,000 businesses closed permanently during the pandemic. Those who survived, like Kailua Global VillagePart-owner Debbie Hopkins said this was in part due to the adoption of online shopping.
“We switched to a new website to help us connect with social media, really focusing on that aspect online,” Hopkins explained. “(It) really makes a difference.”
But new challenges keep appearing, like shipping delays.
“We just had a delay of about three months waiting for the product to arrive,” Gramann explained. “(It’s) two pallets of ingredients and bottles. So, it was difficult.
Hopkins said the delays had an impact on their cash flow, but they were doing well.
“We had to really tap into different sources and predict how sales will be by sourcing our supplies and trying to get things in as soon as possible,” Hopkins added.
Convincing people to buy locally is big business and store owners take it seriously. Whether it’s boutique clothing, unique jewelry, or handmade soaps and lotions, many business owners work very hard to create unique items to attract customers.
Costa said that if she wants unique gifts, she prefers to look in small stores.
“And the store owners (at Red Pineapple), it’s very intimate,” Costa explained. “They are very personal and very friendly so when you go shopping they really do a good job helping you.”
“We do everything, as much as we can, locally,” said Gramann.
Gramann also said that Lanikai Bath and Body has their own production site, which means they are able to be more innovative and constantly create new products.
Carol Kuniyoshi, the owner of Calico cat fabric store in Kaimuki, said she enjoys helping customers and sharing advice.
“We’re just a little mom-and-pop type store, eager to give away good quality products,” Kuniyoshi explained.
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Rising business to kick off the 2021 holiday shopping season gives many people hope for the future.
“Things are starting to come back and we’ll thrive again I’m sure,” Gramann said.