This Saturday, Nov. 28 marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, which was started to give small businesses exposure and to inspire consumers to shop in their own communities during the holiday season. Local Small Business Saturday efforts are supported by the City of Eugene, Downtown Eugene Merchants, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and 5th Street Market.
Liisa John, owner of Mosaic Fair Trade Collection, 28 E. Broadway, hopes that the Holiday Market in the Park Blocks helps downtown merchants in the same way Saturday Market has a positive economic effect on the area for much of the year. “It creates traffic down here, and it’s a nice positive energy,” John said. “People seem to be a good mood when they come down to the market. You see more families. It’s always a positive thing.”
The Holiday Market and its extensive array of craftspeople has moved from its customary indoor venue at the Lane Events Center to the outdoor Park Blocks in downtown from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday until Dec. 19.
After enduring months of COVID-19-depressed sales, Eugene merchants hope to get a boost from holiday shoppers on Saturday and in the weeks ahead, even as the pandemic continues and they operate under new restrictions. For some merchants, the seasonal sales could make the difference between them staying open or closing permanently.
“We’ve been a small locally owned business since our inception 27 years ago,” said Alicia Shupe, floral manager at Passionflower Design, 128 E. Broadway. “We really try to be part of the community and we wouldn’t be around if the community wasn’t here for us, so Small Business Saturday is really important to us.”
The heart of the city has plenty of shopping options, with an eclectic variety of locally owned stores in a relatively small area. Shoppers can find clothing, toys, hats, jewelry, housewares, footwear, art, food and beverage gifts, furniture, bicycles, household décor, wellness products, and much more, all within a few blocks of each other.
By supporting Eugene merchants, shoppers help the economy close to home. Local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy by creating locally owned supply chains and investing in their employees, according to studies cited by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
COVID-19 eliminated the traditional downtown holiday lighting ceremony, but Brenda Stebbeds, who owns Urban Therapeutic, 749 Willamette St., has asked area merchants to light up their storefronts in the evening so shoppers can enjoy a Downtown Holiday Window Tour, starting Dec. 5.
“What inspired me to organize the Downtown Holiday Window Tour was a strong desire to unite downtown businesses and bring the spirit of the holiday season to our community in a safe and fun way,” she said.
To make shopping convenient, some downtown stores – like restaurants – offer curbside pickup. The City of Eugene is supporting downtown commerce by allowing free parking in the Overpark and Parcade garages seven days a week.
For more information, contact:
- Liisa John, Mosaic Fair Trade Collection, 28 E Broadway, 541-344-4000, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jamie Goulding, Passionflower Design, 128 E. Broadway, 541-344-3857, email@example.com
- Vanessa Roy, Eugene Saturday/Holiday Market, 541-870-1952, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Priya Makyadath, shoe-a-holic, 957 Willamette St., 541-687-0898, email@example.com
- Brenda Stebbeds, Urban Therapeutic, 749 Willamette St., 541-357-4662, TheTeam@UrbanTherapeutic.com