Homer resident Denise Wrinn makes it a point to shop on Small Business Saturday each year.
“I always come out on small business Saturday to support the local stores. I don’t go out on Black Friday. I wait until Saturday and then I go local,” she said as she looked Saturday for small gifts for her daughter at Olde Homer House in Homer.
“I enjoy having the unique stores here in Homer and Cortland,” she said.
Small Business Saturday was started by credit card company American Express in 2010 to encourage shoppers to support local businesses, according to the company’s website.
The Cortland County Chamber of Commerce has promoted the day for two years. This year, it handed out free tote bags at Bru 64 in Cortland and Sinfully Sweet Cafe in Homer to the first 100 visitors.
“If anything, Small Business Saturday boosts morale. It’s supporting the local community and keeping the money here,” said Nikki Davi, with the Chamber of Commerce. “Everybody says, ‘When you shop local, it stays local,’ and that’s what we’re trying to get people to do more of.”
The number of participating businesses doubled to 28 from last year, Davi said.
A jolly man wearing red, sporting a bushy beard, made his rounds to local businesses in Homer, wishing folks a, “Merry Christmas.”
“Small Business Saturday is definitely a push for us,” said Jason Lillie, owner of the Cortland Flower Shop, 11 N. Main St. “It helps to kick off the holiday season.”
People who don’t frequently shop at the store will come out and support it on Small Business Saturday, Lillie said.
“Everybody is happy. They’re getting into that holiday spirit,” Lillie said. Wreaths and centerpieces were particularly popular.
“A centerpiece or a wreath, it helps lighten the spirit,” Lillie said.
“This is a our biggest season,” said Stephanie Fox at Olde Homer House on Main Street in Homer. “As soon as this weekend hits, it really picks up.”
Popular sellers for her were the handmade Byers Choice figurines.
“I hope we get a lot of customers in and that they’re happy with their purchase,” she said.