MADISON, Wis.— Small Business Saturday sparks a crucial time period for owners across Wisconsin.
Heading into the holiday season, so many local vendors have their futures on the line. A recent study by UW-Oshkosh found that about nine percent of small business owners said they’re only viable for about three months.
That survey was done in October. That means those three months run out around Christmastime.
“The holiday season is going to be 'make or break' for a lot of these businesses,” said Colin Murray, head of Dane Buy Local. “I've heard from a number of business owners that said if they don't have a decent Christmas, that's it. They’re done.”
Murray also owns Kylee’s Gift Cottage, a temporary pop-up started as a way for 25 artists to sell their wares during the pandemic.
“We usually do art and craft shows throughout the course of the year, including the all-important holiday season. And of course, all of those are gone this year,” said Murray. “A number of the artists got together and we decided to open a shop so that we could try to recover some of the lost income.”
Small Business Saturday is a way for people to focus their holiday buying power on locally-owned shops. Murray is hoping Dane County businesses get a boost.
“Shopping local makes all the difference in the world to these business owners. They put their heart and soul into putting these businesses together, they've been open 10, 20, 30, 40 years or more,” Murray said. “And they're watching that dream slip away from them.”
But you can help far beyond Saturday: Murray hopes people try to buy all their holiday gifts from small businesses.
Because of the pandemic, many of them have vastly improved their online systems. "Just because it's Cyber Monday doesn't mean you automatically have to go to Amazon," Murray said.
To find the local vendors in your area, you can check Main Street Wisconsin. You can also look at the website of your local chamber of commerce.