NU retailers hopeful

27 businesses participating in event to kickoff holiday shopping season

Bailey Creek Boutique owner Sandy Reinke looks through some of her merchandise as preparations are underway for Small Business Saturday. Reinke said the event will provide a nice boost in a struggling economy.

NEW ULM — Local New Ulm businesses are ready to get a big boost from Small Business Saturday.

After Black Friday each year, Small Business Saturday takes the spotlight off of large retailers and puts it on local small businesses. In New Ulm, the Chamber of Commerce has embraced this event and worked to promote and expand it year after year.

Chamber of Commerce president Sarah Warmka said 27 businesses are participating in the official event, nearly double what it was last year. She said supporting small businesses has always been at the heart of the Chamber’s mission.

“Originally we had the shopping opener, which is the first weekend in November and the same weekend as the deer hunting opener. We’ve been doing that well before Small Business Saturday, and they’re both a way to promote our local and small businesses for the holiday season.”

Patterson’s Diamond Center owner Ben Patterson said the holiday season is their busiest time of the year. Every year, Small Business Saturday kicks off this busy season. Patterson believes events like Small Business Saturday are more vital now than ever before, as online shopping continues to increase in popularity.

Patterson’s Diamond Center owner Ben Patterson stands with a display of engagement rings in preparation for Small Business Saturday. The event kicks off Patterson’s busiest season, of which engagement rings are the most popular item.

“Anything we can do to keep the brick-and-mortar stores open,” he said. “The online shop has gotten bigger over the last five years, especially since the pandemic. We want to be promoted as we’re still here to get people to come in and shop with us.”

Promoting the downtown area is another benefit Patterson identified, as many of the small businesses in New Ulm occupy this part of town. Among those is Bailey Creek Boutique, which has participated in Small Business Saturday since the store opened in 2017. Owner Sandy Reinke said the event has continued to grow and flourish in the time Bailey Creek has been around.

“I think it’s gotten bigger and much more well-known with our supporters. The local people in town are much more in tune with saving their shopping for the day to show their support for our business and to support the local businesses in the community. I know sales have increased with us every year.”

Reinke said the current economic situation has made it difficult for small business owners such as herself. With events like Small Business Saturday bringing in extra traffic, it helps improve the outlook for local business owners like Reinke.

“I’m realistic enough to understand when we go to the grocery store and prices are high, something has to give somewhere,” Reinke said. “I’ve noticed the impact in my store. I’m appreciative of any dollar I make. It goes right back into the business to make sure I can continue paying my employees and bring in a variety of merchandise for the customers.”

Patterson and Reinke agreed Small Business Saturday is one of, if not the biggest event of the year for them. Warmka said New Ulm has one of the most vibrant and giving small business communities she has ever seen. She said Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for people to show appreciation and support for the small businesses that support New Ulm.

“You’re not seeing Amazon sponsoring baseball teams,” Warmka said. “You are seeing our small businesses doing that kind of stuff. I think it’s really important for everyone to remember the reason we have such awesome support for our youth activities and sports and everything is because of our awesome small business community.”

For more information on Small Business Saturday in New Ulm, visit https://business.newulm.com/events/details/small-business-saturday-46591?calendarMonth=2023-11-01


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