Westmoreland County store homeowners have excessive hopes for Small Business Saturday

Tracy Alaia has seen firsthand the kindness expressed to small companies in the course of the covid-19 pandemic.

As proprietor of Feathers Artist Market and Gifts in Irwin, Alaia predicts that kindness to proceed throughout this weekend’s Small Business Saturday, when crowds are anticipated at domestically owned retailers to kick off vacation procuring. Nationwide, about 80% of customers mentioned they’d possible store small this 12 months, an American Express survey discovered.

“People really cared for each other through things,” Alaia mentioned. “And I think it’s continuing even though sometimes you only hear the bad, I’ve seen a lot of the good.”

Throughout the pandemic, small companies struggled as shops had been pressured to shut and extra cash was spent to implement security measures.

After practically two years, companies are nonetheless reeling from the pandemic as they work to rebound whereas additionally combating provide chain points which have emptied cabinets throughout the nation. This 12 months, 56% of enterprise mentioned Small Business Saturday is extra crucial than ever, with 78% of vacation gross sales impacting their capacity to remain open in 2022, the survey discovered.

In Westmoreland County, companies hoping to buck nationwide tendencies have been making ready for the vacation season, leaving small retailers stocked with homeowners anxiously awaiting crowds. Last 12 months, individuals spent virtually $20 billion nationwide on Christmas, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported.

“I’ve always had a wonderful crowd and even last year with everything going on it was a nice crowd so I think people are just excited to be able to be out and about,” Alaia mentioned. “People have been so supportive of small businesses. … They’ve even changed their gift giving.”

Alaia mentioned there was a delay in delivery from a handful of firms. She famous that small companies and firms primarily based within the United States tended to ship gadgets sooner than bigger, overseas firms. For essentially the most half, Alaia mentioned, this 12 months has been on observe with earlier years when it comes to preparations.

In Greensburg, Mary Wilmes, proprietor of Penelope’s Gifts and More, mentioned that due to the availability chain points she began planning for the vacations earlier this 12 months. Similar to Alaia, Wilmes mentioned there have been just a few firms that didn’t fulfill orders. Still, Penelope’s is stocked and prepared for Small Business Saturday.

“I have a store full of stuff, so I think if anybody comes in they’ll find something for sure,” Wilmes mentioned.

She added that she is anticipating a big crowd like in earlier years.

“I think people feel comfortable because even at the busiest time it’s never like shopping at a big box store,” she mentioned. “I think the feeling we try to give people like welcoming them into our homes makes people feel real good about it. It’s a win-win.”

That feeling of pleasure is echoed by companies throughout Greensburg, mentioned Ashley Kertes, govt director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp. Similar to Wilmes, Kertes famous that small companies provide a small city, pleasant ambiance with distinctive services.

Several occasions have already drawn crowds to downtown Greensburg, leaving store homeowners hopeful that can carry over to Small Business Saturday.

“Even during the holiday season last year at the height of the pandemic, businesses expressed how well they did on Small Business Saturday,” Kertes mentioned. “Some even said they had their highest sales ever. … I think that can be attributed to people realizing more than ever the importance of shopping small and supporting the Greensburg business community.”

She famous that some companies expressed provide chain points, the vast majority of which have come from eating places.

Lisa Smartnick, membership coordinator on the Norwin Chamber of Commerce, reported related provide chain points in Irwin.

The chamber is selling Small Business Saturday to assist draw a big crowd.

Stephany Frede, proprietor of The Black Bunny Boutique in Ligonier, mentioned the season up to now has been enterprise as traditional.

“We always have a really big crowd beginning Black Friday and then it continues into Small Business Saturday,” Frede mentioned.

The solely provide chain points felt on the retailer had been for containers and baggage, she mentioned. Several of her distributors are U.S. primarily based, one thing Frede mentioned helped fight further issues.

“There’s an upbeat spirit that people are ready to shop, that they’re ready to get back into businesses,” mentioned Amy Beeghly, president of the Greensburg Business and Professional Association. “We like to promote think local, love local and I think that the general public is embracing that.”

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review employees author. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, or through Twitter .

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