Small Business Saturday boosts Savannah’s local economy

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The National Retail Federation says 66 million people are shopping Saturday at small businesses across the nation. Thousands are doing that around the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

Since 2009, American Express says people have spent $103 billion on Small Business Saturday. 2019 is the event’s 10th year anniversary.

When you think of Small Business Saturday, most people envision helping brick and mortar stores. But many operate their businesses from home, online or from local markets.

Farmers’ markets, for instance — like the one in Savannah’s Forsyth Park — are for business owners whose tables are their storefronts.

“It’s a labor of love and I find value in that,” said Joanne Kiser. Her company — Blissful Whisk — sells homemade granola and breakfast bars. Kiser operates her business out of Charleston but usually sells in Savannah — where she says there’s a niche market with people who love her products.

When people shop at local businesses, owners agree it pumps money into the community and the local economy.

“I care a lot about what I do,” said Kiser. “It’s not a mundane job that’s automated. I actually make my granola, I buy the products.”

Kiser’s hands-on philosophy is on display at every tent in Forsyth Park, including one operated by Springfield’s Bootleg Farm.

“Every dollar spent on something at this table, puts food on our table,” said Madison Cowart, who works at the farm with her family. “That’s our bread and butter. That’s how we pay our bills. That’s how we continue to operate our business.”

Small Business Saturday is for classic stores, too. That includes Sara Jane’s Children’s Boutique in East Savannah. The owner says she helps out by selling local products in her store.

“We have a lot of great, unique businesses in Savannah,” said Sara Jane Stroupe. “The community does a really good job rallying around those businesses.”

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