By Jonathan Phelps
---- — BEVERLY — For the past three years, Casa de Moda, a gifts and jewelry store on Cabot Street, has taken part in Small Business Saturday, and the owners say they have seen the benefits of the promotion.
Each year, more people participate in the nationwide push to support small businesses in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, said Janice Preston, who owns Casa de Moda with her husband, Don.
“It is gaining momentum,” Preston said. “It has definitely increased foot traffic and sales from people looking to support small businesses and take advantage of the specials.”
Preston said the store offered discounts on holiday boxed cards and invitations, but many people weren’t just looking for a bargain.
“I found that customers said they were happy to be there because they were supporting us,” she said.
Between Small Business Saturday and the Holiday Parade on Sunday, there were a lot of people shopping in Beverly this past weekend, said John Somes, executive director of the Beverly Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber helped promote the local shopping event by posting information through Facebook and email.
“I think it is a great incentive for people to shop locally, especially during the holiday season to support their community,” Somes said.
The promotion did not have the same impact for the Marblehead Sports Shop, which also took part in Small Business Saturday, which is promoted nationally by American Express.
“The concept was fantastic, but unfortunately it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a Saturday in November,” said Chad Sher, owner of the Pleasant Street store. “We really didn’t have a lot of people coming in saying, ‘Hey, it’s Small Business Saturday.’”
Sher said he did notice some increased foot traffic in town on Saturday and hopes the event continues in years to come. As a small-business owner, he said, it’s tough to compete with the deals that large retailers offer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In Salem, many people came to Bernard’s Jewelers on Essex Street and specifically mentioned they were there to support Small Business Saturday, owner Ray Tetrault said.
“They made a point of coming out and shopping locally,” he said. “It was a very busy day.”
Tetrault said he likes the concept of the event.
“I think it is a great idea to get people shopping at local businesses instead of the big box stores,” he said.
As a new business in downtown Danvers, New England Dog Biscuit Company took part in the event for the first time this year.
The store offers dog treats using fresh, natural, human-grade ingredients, according to its website.
Owner Dennis Bourgault said he had several new customers visit the store because of the deals, and he plans to participate again next year.
“It think it brought more attention to the benefits of shopping with local retailers,” Bourgault said.