Small Business

Buy big but shop small

Minnesota businesses prepare for 6th annual Small Business Saturday

By Kevyn Burger
Tue, 2016-11-22 09:33

A group of four dozen Minnesota food startups and artisan producers are banding together to create excitement and promote sales for this year’s Small Business Saturday.

Midwest Pantry, a collective of local food businesses, will stage its Shop Small Holiday Market at the Community Center in St. Anthony Village.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., shoppers will be able to stroll among the booths of Midwest Pantry members and choose from a variety of unique consumables.

It’s an example of how the push to support small businesses extends beyond brick-and-mortar and Main Street merchants.

“Having this event at this time of year is beneficial for small businesses. They have so much inventory on store shelves right now. This represents a nice influx of funds at this time of the year when they have so many invoices out,” says Chad Gillard, co-founder and marketing director of Midwest Pantry. “This is good cash flow to bridge the gap.”

Midwest Pantry is a member-based organization working to boost local food entrepreneurs and “make Minnesota the number one place in the country to start and grow a food business,” says Gillard.

The 46 businesses that will be selling their wares on Nov. 26 include some that are in the early stages of development and others that are breaking through to a wider market

Gillard stresses that shoppers will have a wide variety of vendors to explore as they shop for unique holiday gifts.

“One of the rising stars is Lucille’s Kitchen Garden, which makes savory jam to be paired with meats. They started at the farmers markets and are now available at a number of the high end groceries,” Gillard says.

“Another company that will be at the show is Terroir Chocolates out of Fergus Falls. They make handcrafted chocolates and will be in 150 stores within the next year,” he adds.

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is marked each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Despite the relentless ad campaigns and doorbuster offers from big box retailers, American Express notes that one-half of all retail sales are generated by small businesses.

Last year, 95 million Americans shoppers opened their wallets on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey commissioned by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.