The Saturday after Thanksgiving is all about shopping small: that’s whenlocally owned businesses go big: stacking up inventory, in an effort to meet the demand of holiday sales.
“We make this whole hoopla after small business Saturday, but what about the rest of the year?” Nick Hill, the president of the Kern County Chamber of Commerce said, “Right after, that’s when everyone exchanges what they got after Christmas. And then after that there are multiple discounts as well. And after that, in January, business comes to a lull.”
When that lull hits, Hill said, it can have a bigger impact on small businesses, because they don’t have as much access to venture capital or a large advertising budget. That's why it’s important to shop small all year round, according to Hill.
“That’s the nature of small businesses and businesses in general, Hill said. “Unless you’re a specialty store that specializes in a certain product people need all year round.”
Even those specialty stores that have a steady customer base year round have their obstacles to overcome. Their issue may not be demand, but supply, since their goods are offshore and there have been supply chain issues with importing goods.
“Sometimes we’re here and we don’t answer our calls, or put them on hold, because I need two people in the back,” Ranjit Singh, the president and CEO of SNG Imports DBA Spiceland said. “Sometimes I work 60 to 70 hours a week to make sure the business is running smoothly.
That’s coupled with continued labor shortages during the pandemic, according to Singh.
“We’ve gone through college, seeking out students to apply--and rather than hiring one full time person we hire two part time.” Singh said. “We’re a small business. We don’t have access to big advertising like companies or any like that in the papers. So we use our Facebook or our own social media.”
When those things happen, the burden falls on both the business owners, and the customers who will see a fifteen percent increase in price of goods.
“At the end of the day, it is hurting our pocket, we have rent, insurance, payroll to pay, and so those things were hurting us, so we had to raise our prices,” Singh said.
Whether dealing with supply chain issues or demand, Hill said that’s where the power of the consumer comes in.
and the kern county black chamber of commerce has a program coming down the pipe in mid-january to hone in that power through a crowd-funding format.
“We’d pick a day, where we’d go to a small business and have a minimum of 25 people and have people purchase whatever it is this business has to offer, do a lot of purchasing that day to give them the shot in the arm they need,” Hill said. “It’s going to improve that economy, it’s going to pay more taxes, it’s going to make sure we have more people employed, and it also strengthens the community.”
While this program is launching under the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Hill is encouraging other chambers and organizations to catch on to this model to reach as many businesses as possible.