Shop Small Saturday 'vital' for downtown Jonesborough merchants

Jonathan Roberts • Dec 4, 2019 at 11:44 AM

For many of Jonesborough’s downtown merchants, Shop Small Saturday is not just a way for them to compete with big big-box stores — it’s “vital for (their) existence.” 

“Small Business Saturday is one of those last big days where we get a really big shot in the arm, and that kind of helps steady our ships (heading) into the slower months,” said Jonesborough Alderman Stephen Callahan, who owns Tennessee Hills Distillery. “It’s really important for us — it’s vital for our existence.” 

According to American Express, which started Shop Small Saturday in 2010, people have spent an estimated $109 billion at local stores since the holiday began, with an estimated $73 billion of that staying in their community — something Jonesborough’s Main Street Director Cameo Waters wanted to emphasize this year. 

“This year, we really wanted to emphasize on the folks that make shopping small so important: The merchants and the community,” Waters said. “When you shop small, you’re not just buying a gift for someone, you’re making a difference for that (business owner) and (their) family.”

At Gabriel’s Christmas, shop owner Gabe Eveland knows just how important a day like Saturday can be.  

“It’s hugely important for us,” Eveland said of Shop Small Saturday. “Shop Small Saturday is kind of like a day where we celebrate our local community and our local customers, and it’s, of course, one of our most successful days of the year in terms of revenue but it’s also about us giving back to our customers as well.

“Jonesborough is such a great tight-knit community, we all really support each other and every business down here really strives to help each other be successful in this community,” Eveland said. 

In Johnson City, dozens of local business were also offering discounts and incentives to get people to shop small, which led to a busy morning for the staff of Campbell’s Morrell Music. 

“Yesterday was really busy for Black Friday, and today of course has been very busy too, so we’re really thankful,” store owner David Campbell said. “Shopping small and shopping local is very important for use because we’re really small.”

Employee Tyler Petty said days like Saturday keep the downtown community “alive” and “thriving.” 

“It’s really important to keep the community alive around us, and keep everybody in business and keep downtown thriving,” Petty said. 

For Jonesborough resident Robin Cornelison, Saturday was a day to have fun and support the community and the shops that keep it alive. 

“It’s extremely important (to shop small),” Cornelison said. “Big business is killing the little guy.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful to (see small business support),” she added. “It really gives you the old-town, small country feeling of growing up with family and friends -—everything Jonesborough does is wonderful.” 

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