Small Business Saturday: Supporting the local economy by shopping locally.
Most people are familiar with the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Like it or not, these holiday shopping dates are here to stay, but many who participate do not realize the impact that their spending has—or doesn’t have—on our local economy. Enter Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is a reaction to the global phenomenon of Black Friday and its digital counterpart. As these mega shopping events have grown, sales have moved to big box stores and online transactions, causing local retailers and the larger regional community to feel the impact. Small Business Saturday was created in an effort to remind shoppers of the importance of spending locally.
Due to its impact on local business owners, Small Business Saturday is incredibly important to Downtown Lafayette. Downtown has the highest concentration of small, locally owned businesses in Acadiana—retail boutiques, restaurants, and craft stores—which provide unique products and services that you can only get right here in your own community. To give a little love and credit to the many unique businesses of the district, the Downtown Lafayette office hosted a press conference and ribbon cutting to kick off the day.
Shopping small affects the entire community.
The press conference was well-attended by representatives of the media, local business owners, and staff members of Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) and One Acadiana who offered eye-opening statistics and accounts of how holiday shopping can be a huge benefit to the entire community.
Gregg Gautreaux of LEDA emphasized the economic impact of shopping locally: “Did you know that $48 out of every $100 spent at local retails stores stays in the local economy? And for local restaurants it’s closer to $65. That number is much lower when you shop in the big stores, and it is zero when you shop online.” LEDA’s website also notes that over 65,000 people—more than a quarter of the region’s workforce—are employed in the retail or hospitality & leisure sectors in Acadiana.
Ross Fontenot, owner of Genterie Supply Co. and a board member of the Downtown Development Authority also spoke at the event, with a reminder of where your dollars go when you shop locally: “Our local shop owners aren’t just putting the money in their pockets. It’s dance lessons for their children, wages for their employees, and taxes that come back to our local government to fund necessary services. It all has a ripple effect which serves to better our region.”
Small business owners and economic development advocates gathered for a press conference to announce Small Business Saturday in Downtown.
Small Business Saturday in Downtown Lafayette
Due to the press conference and media coverage of Small Business Saturday, many retailers in the district saw record sales during the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“Having the support of our downtown family made this past Small Business Saturday the most successful in years,” said Megan Arceneaux, owner of Hub City Cycles. “It was a great experience leading up to the weekend and cutting the ribbon with the rest of the small business owners and it really made the whole day extra special. I think the support of DLU (Downtown Lafayette Unlimited) has catapulted a boom downtown and I’m super stoked to be a part of it.”
“Small Business Saturday was a great success at Adorn,” said shop owner Adrian Guidry. “There was a continuous flow of customers throughout the day. Several mentioned that they heard about all the excitement happening downtown and wanted to check it out.”
How to shop small and local in Lafayette
Downtown’s cafés, restaurants, and walkable streets make it one of the most enjoyable places to spend a day shopping. Instead of rushing through the mall or waiting in line at checkout counters, you can enjoy genuine interactions and excellent service from local business owners. By shopping small you can turn shopping time into leisure time by enjoying a good meal or finding a unique gift you can only get in Acadiana. And you can rest assured knowing the positive effect your spending will have in our community.
There are numerous stores in Downtown Lafayette that are open throughout the entire holiday season (you can find them on the Shop section of our online map). We encourage you to visit these stores and see what they have to offer. Many have been inspired by the effect of Small Business Saturday and have extended deals and specials closer to Christmas, and all of them are operated by amazing people who are members of the Downtown Lafayette community and work daily to keep the character and unique flair of our city and region intact.
This holiday season will be an especially delightful time to shop in Downtown and experience the creativity of the community of artists and business owners in the districts. Over 40 shops and small businesses have signed onto the Downtown Window Wonderland, decorating their windows and storefronts in fun and interactive displays for the holidays. The Window Wonderland is part of the Merry & Bright Downtown Christmas. This December is the perfect time to spend a day shopping in Downtown. Stroll the streets, enjoy the window displays, get a bite or a coffee, bring the whole family, and let Downtown surprise you.