HONOLULU (KHON2) — Saturday marks the halfway point of what is considered the trifecta of holiday shopping: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Each day focuses on a different demographic with Small Business Saturday meant to push customers to buy — in most cases — local.
Lanikai Bath and Body owner, Brook Gramann, said the promotion helped.
“Just having something to talk about that’s new, saying ‘Thank you’ to our customers — it does bring business in,” Gramann explained.
Gramann said her sales are up 20 to 25% more compared to 2020.
Nalani McLaughlin, owner of Red Pineapple in Kaimuki, said she also felt the love.
Some small towns, like Kaimuki, capitalized on Small Business Saturday by developing a promotion of their own.
Honolulu resident Tacyn Costa said she is eager to support small businesses.
“The COVID, it put a lot of small stores, owners, out of business so my girlfriends and I, we try to support the community,” Costa said.
The boost in business is exactly what shop owners need after the pandemic devastated the economy.
Retail Merchants of Hawaii president Tina Yamaki said small businesses have been hit especially hard during the coronavirus.
“They have had to close down, especially on Oahu, twice,” Yamaki stated.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, at least 13,000 businesses closed for good during the pandemic. Those who survived, like Global Village Kailua, part-owner Debbie Hopkins said it is in part due to embracing online shopping.
“We switched over to a new website to help us connect into social media, really focusing on that online aspect,” Hopkins explained. “(It) really makes a difference.”
But new challenges continue to pop up — like shipping delays.
“We just recently had a delay of about three months waiting for product to come in,” Gramann explained. “(It’s) two palettes of ingredients and bottles. So, that’s been difficult.”
Hopkins said the delays have impacted their cash flow, but they are making due.
“We’ve had to really tap into different sources, as well as kind of predict how sales will be by stocking up and trying to get things in as soon as we can,” added Hopkins.
Convincing people to shop local is big business and shop owners take it seriously. Whether it is boutique clothing, one-of-a-kind jewelry or handcrafted soaps and lotions, many business owners work very hard to create unique items to bring customers in.
Costa said that if she wants unique gifts, she prefers looking in small shops.
“And the store owners (at Red Pineapple), it’s very intimate,” Costa explained. “They’re very personal and their very friendly so when you go and shop they really do a good job in helping you.”
“We do everything, as much as we can, locally,” Gramann said.
Gramann also said Lanikai Bath and Body has its own production facility, which means they are able to be more innovative and constantly create new products.
Carol Kuniyoshi, the owner of Calico Cat fabric store in Kaimuki, said she loves helping customers and sharing advice.
“We’re just a little mom-and-pop type store, looking forward to giving good quality goods,” Kuniyoshi explained.
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The uptick in business to kick off the 2021 holiday shopping season is giving many people hope for the future.
“Things are starting to come back and we will thrive again I’m sure,” said Gramann.