MARION — Jeanne Jones prepares for this weekend all year.
“It means everything,” she said from inside her Marion gift boutique, Southern Accents.
For Small Business Saturday, Jones is offering free giftbags to the first 20 customers, 20 percent off storewide and other deals.
She estimated she will have 300 shoppers on Saturday, and like other small businesses around East Mississippi, she hopes the weekend would help grow her customer base.
“We just need the support because there’s so much online business now and we’re trying to keep the brick and mortar stores here,” Jones said.
Small businesses play a big role in the local economy and deserve community support, said Casey Holladay, the events coordinator for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.
“These aren’t big CEOs. These are your neighbors," Holladay said. "These are people you go to church with. These are your friends and family and so we just want to support them and to make sure that they stay because if we don’t support them, they can’t stay. They’ll make the decision that they’re not able to do that.”
Holladay has been passing out materials to shops in the Meridian area to help them promote Small Business Saturday.
Michelle Mayer Hines, the manager of Harry Mayer, said the clothing store on Highway 39 may have anywhere from 150 to 200 customers on Saturday.
“It’s huge. It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year,” she said.
Shoppers will receive 20 percent off any item.
“Every time you help somebody and they shop with you, you hope they’re a customer for a long time with you. Not just the one-time sale, but for life,” said Robert Loeb, president of Loeb's, a clothing store in downtown Meridian.
Loeb's will have discounts of 20 percent to 70 percent on some North Face and Columbia items on Saturday.
“It’s a big part of the month of November. It’s a big part of the holiday season, which is a big part of the year in retail,” Loeb said.
Neighboring shop Crooked Letter, which sells Mississippi-made items, will open two hours earlier for Small Business Saturday.
Everything in the store will be 15 percent off and shoppers who spend $50 will get a coupon to use later.
Readers Poll: Small Business Saturday
Do you plan on shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday?
“I kind of feel like it’s building,” said Debbie Mathis, the owner. “People are taking more pride in their community, where they have all these great options locally.”
For every $1 spent at small businesses, 67 cents stays in the community, according to data from the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study commissioned by American Express.
“It really is important just because we like to get our money circulating back into the community,” said Candace Metts, co-owner of Pixie Place Boutique on Front Street.
The business moved downtown in September after a year and a half at Bonita Lakes, she said.
Metts said the growth of local businesses beautifies the downtown area and gives people things to do.
Pixie Place Boutique is offering a buy one get one half-off sale, plus an extra 15 percent off the entire purchase.
Online sales are discounted 20 percent with the code “thankful.”
A promotional poster in the window of DC Guitar Studio on Front Street reads “#ShopSmall and make a big impact this Nov. 30.”
The store, which opened in late October, is offering 10 percent off all merchandise.
Shopping in person allows customers to try out guitars before they buy, said Aaron Smith, the manager.
“You can feel it in your hands, test it out, try it out, no worries at all and you can get it locally, which is the best way. That’s what Saturday’s for,” he said.