Small Business Saturday makes a difference for local shops

(Julianne Peixoto/WPRI)
(Julianne Peixoto/WPRI)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The day after Black Friday, Rhode Island small business got a shot in the arm of their own from the nationwide Small Business Saturday campaign.

“Black Friday doesn’t do anything for small businesses because everyone goes to the big box stores,” said Leah Kelley, manager of Spectrum India on Thayer Street.

Neil Steinberg, CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, said that it’s important to Buy Local, as their own holiday shopping campaign is named, because shopping small has big effects.

“If we can shift 10 percent of the purchases we in Rhode Island make at big box stores to the local stores – purchases we’re already making – the 10 percent shift could add more than $300 million to the local economy.”

It’s not easy for small business owners to compete with larger retailers, but they can offer shoppers something else valuable: a personal connection.

“We’re family owned,” said Lori Kettelle of PVDonuts. “We make everything by hand every morning – we come in at 2:30. You know who’s making your product. We’re right there, we’re right behind the kitchen.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there are 96,000 small businesses in Rhode Island employing some 220,000 people.