Last weekend’s blizzard impacted a lot of things: the roads, electricity, travel — and an important day for local businesses.
Duluth businesses are hopeful a bonus Small Business Saturday will recoup the sales they lost when a major shopping day at small businesses was ruined by a blizzard.
“So many small businesses ... are dependent on the holiday shopping season for a really good end to their year,” said Shannon Laing, director of partnership development for Ecolibrium3.
Even if businesses were open on Small Businesses Saturday, Laing said customers stopped coming when the flakes started falling.
The Lincoln Park nonprofit and Duluth's Greater Downtown Council are organizing a rerun of Small Business Saturday, hoping to get customers to local shops.
Not only are the stores offering the same deals again, a few “sweetened the pot” by adding even more sales, Laing said.
“Small businesses are key to our economy and its critical that we continue to shop at our local stores,” she said.
Bill Miller has owned Two and Company in Canal Park for around 30 years. He said he’s fortunate that they never experienced a blizzard on a major shopping day — until Saturday.
The store, located in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace building, closed early on Saturday as the store lost power around 3:30 p.m. “It was all over (then),” Miller said.
To help make up for some of the lost sales, the store is holding its exact same sales again this Saturday.
Miller is confident the store can regain some of its lost sales, as he believes many Duluth residents are dedicated to local business.
Electric Fetus made around one-third of its usual sales during the storm, said Carrie Brown, general manager of the record, music and gift store.
The downtown business saw a decline in customers right as the snow started falling. It was open as usual on Saturday, but just as Brown was about to close down early because of the impending blizzard, the electricity went out.
Because the blizzard occurred at the store's end of month, she said it was “kind of an unfortunate end to lose all that.”
Hopeful to regain the lost businesses, Brown said Electric Fetus is offering the exact same sale again — 20% off most items — on Saturday. And because truckloads of new products were delivered throughout the past week, Brown said the additional day will be even better for customers.
Across town at the top of the hill, Legacy Toys in the Miller Hill Mall is also hoping for a revitalizing shopping day.
The snow interrupted its sales, and the toy store hopes people come out to support businesses that rely on the community, according to Peter Cpin, marketing and operations for Legacy Toys.
Laing said the second small business shopping day was also needed to help consumers, who lost out on a major shopping day before the holidays.
Kristi Stokes, president of GDC, wrote in an email that she's hopeful that even more people participate in the shopping day, as the weather looks pleasant and the Duluth Winter Village is occurring at the same time.