The Town of Montgomery and neighboring areas might have been a bit more full of people and shopping bags this past Saturday.
The annual Small Business Saturday event, put on by the Business Council of Greater Montgomery took place November 26 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Different shops and eateries in the area were invited to present specific deals to encourage shoppers to stop by and shop local. Business Council of Greater Montgomery Executive Director Randi Picarello noted they’ve been doing this event for about 10 years, and it’s gotten bigger and bigger.
“Four years ago I actually was at an event with someone from the Town of Newburgh who was telling me about how they created this passport program and [how] they did the City of Newburgh Shop Local [event]. We talked about it and she gave me some details of how they started it, so we started our own townwide Small Business Saturday from that template,” said Picarello.
The passport program Picarello mentions involves local businesses donating raffle items worth $30 or more. These items are then put into baskets which are raffled off.
“We create a passport. Everyone has to go around on Saturday and get about two thirds of [signatures] at however many stops we have. You’re encouraged to obviously purchase before you get a signature but it’s not always required. Then the passport becomes a raffle ticket,” said Picarello.
This year they put together about five baskets which were worth over $400 apiece. Some items included wine from City Winery, antiques from Junk Babes Vintage in Walden, candles, gift certificates and more. The baskets were raffled off the next day.
“We use the email addresses that we get from the raffles to make sure that we are sending out all the information for our local events like Tri-Montgomery and any village events,” Picarello added.
One shop that took part in Small Business Saturday was Artbox Studio, a two-room gift shop and gallery owned by artist Becky Cornell.
Cornell opened in June and has had success with her small business which includes different paint and sips and a small shop full of her art and other niche items. Cornell noted the busy morning she had because of the event. Her deal was 10% off and a free gift for the first 10 customers.
“We had a lot of new customers and a lot of local customers,” said Cornell. “There were about three to four people here at a time all day,” she added.
Some other participants were Java Blue Cafe and Market, who offered $10 off $50, and BOGO books at Montgomery Book Exchange. A bunch of other shops, businesses and eateries had great deals as well.
If the event does anything, it generates foot traffic.
“It doesn’t always translate to a sale but it’s always new people that wouldn’t have necessarily even known that their businesses were there,” said Picarello.