BY AMY WATKINS
Every day is about a small business when you own one.
That point is clear to people like Brent Emory, owner of E&E Lumber and Home Center. The business has been at 1364 State Ave. in Marysville for more than 40 years.
“We’re open every day,” Emory said. “We’re doing something every day, every month, and we’re having fun on a day-to-day basis.”
The business offers military and senior discounts, as well as 20 percent off all in-store merchandise on the first Saturday of every month. This year, Emory is again planning to be part of Small Business Saturday, set for Nov. 30.
“It’s a great concept,” he said. “We are recognizing it and participating however we can.”
Small Business Saturday was started three years ago by American Express to promote local stores across the country. It asks people to shop locally the Saturday after Thanksgiving to celebrate and rally behind small businesses.
Marysville’s small businesses make up 90 percent of its business community and “serve as the heart and soul of the city,” according to Caldie Rogers, president and CEO of the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.
“They work long hours, provide local jobs, generate city revenue for the services our residents need, and donate their time and their money to our local non-profits, putting the quality of life in our way of life,” Rogers said.
The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce is urging all residents to shop Marysville on Small Business Saturday, added Rogers.
The Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce is also asking people to shop locally on Nov. 30, said Chamber President Kristen Granroth. A day like Small Business Saturday encourages people to discover products and services that are available locally, and the hope is those new customers will turn into repeat customers, she said.
“If one person goes downtown to buy something and sees another business where they might be able to get products or services, it’s a success in my book,” Granroth said. “Shopping locally all year long is our go-to message. It only benefits all of us; our schools, our lifestyles, our businesses.”
At least 20 businesses are new to the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber this year, according to Granroth. At 212 members, the chamber has hit its highest membership total yet. Chamber Business After Hours events occur once a month and have helped business owners better support one another, Granroth said.
David Boulton, owner of Flowers By George at 335 N. Olympic Ave., participates along with other Arlington business owners in Super Saturdays, where customers receive discounts on purchases made on the first Saturday of every month. He and others have blue doormats they put outside to encourage people to shop small. His doormat will definitely be out on Nov. 30, Boulton said.
“It’s our tax dollars staying in the community,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it, and I’m hoping it will be a good Saturday.”
Boulton, who is a second-generation owner of his business, promoted last year’s Small Business Saturday through the Flowers By George Facebook page. He’s noticed TV ads promoting the day this year, and believes those will help to generate more interest in the event.
“I don’t remember the TV ads last year, and I’m just impressed by them,” Boulton said. “I love the idea and mindset of people doing the big-box store shopping on Friday, getting that part out of their system, and coming downtown where they can find a place to park, usually right out in front of our store … I just love the concept.”
Arlington Hardware and Lumber at 215 N. Olympic Ave. has offered Super Saturday discounts for the past 25 years, according to owner Taylor Jones. Repeat customers look forward to those busy and fun Saturdays, he said. Small Business Saturday is another day of the year to show support, Jones added.
“Any time they try to get something going for downtown small businesses, I’m supportive of that,” he said. “I want to see downtown Arlington thrive.”
Small Business Saturday might make a difference, but a large part of what has made Wagner Jewelers at 9611 State Ave. in Marysville successful is quality customer service, according to owner Doug Wagner.
“If you’re in independent jeweler you don’t have the money for advertising, so you’ve got to build the business on customer relationships,” he said. “Basically, we get advertising by word of mouth. That’s how this business was built, and that’s how it will continue to be successful.”
While a one-day push for shopping small will resonate, one-day events often fade as quickly as they come, Rogers noted. That’s why the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce is working on the final touches to an upcoming launch of the next Buy Local campaign. A part of the campaign is planned through newspaper ads to educate people about how local dollars are used.
“The new innovations developed over the last few months will produce even greater success for businesses of all sizes,” Rogers said. “We will grow our local economy.”