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Dickinson’s downtown comes up big on Small Business Saturday

With the blanket advertising and door-busting deals offered by major retail chain stores during Black Friday week, local businesses can get lost in the shuffle.

During Small Business Saturday — a concept created by American Express four years ago — several Dickinson merchants said they were witness to a busy downtown.

“We had a good Black Friday and customers were really open to shopping local and shopping small (Saturday),” said Lillians owner Cami Havelka early Saturday evening. “We had a really great group of ladies that made a point to go around and shop local. It created a really fun atmosphere.”

Moe Moe’s Garden Baby Boutique owner Laura Shypkoski said she noticed an increase in foot traffic into her downtown shop this Saturday, the second year Moe Moe’s has participated in SBS.

“We had regular and new customers in on Friday, which was great to see,” Shypkoski said. “Things went pretty well (Saturday), too. We were busy all day long. It seemed busy downtown today. I walked to The Brew and, during the walk, there were a lot of people downtown and a lot of people at The Brew.”

Shypkoski said it’s important that Dickinson shoppers support local businesses during the holiday shopping season.

“I feel that we cannot compete with the bigger corporate stores, but we don’t want to compete with them,” Shypkoski said. “We want to bring business downtown so people can have a good family-friendly shopping experience and get customer service that I feel you can’t really get anywhere else. I think it’s important to support our small businesses that aren’t funded corporately so they can stay here and continue to give Dickinson what small businesses are known for.”

Masterpiece Gifts and Floral, another downtown Dickinson business, witnessed a spike in Black Friday customers as well as a solid Saturday in sales, according to store assistant manager Dawn Figgins.

“We were very happy with how things have gone this weekend,” Figgins said. “It was busier downtown on Friday, it seemed, but Saturday was a great day, too. I think Small Business Saturday is a great thing to raise awareness for shopping at our local places.”

American Express spokesman Scott Krugman stated in an email Friday that the SBS concept has been a success since its inception in 2010.

“We started Small Business Saturday to help small businesses with their most pressing need coming out of the recession — getting more customers,” Krugman stated. “Since then, Small Business Saturday has become a permanent fixture on the holiday shopping calendar and a day to support the small business owners that are the foundation of our communities.”

Also a member of the Downtown Dickinson Association, Havelka she noticed more awareness about SBS — recognized annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — this year.

“I think this is the first year that it’s really been promoted in Dickinson,” Havelka said. “We had been one of the only businesses downtown that celebrated Small Business Saturday. A lot of people had never heard of it. During some of our conversations at the Downtown Dickinson Association, we talked about doing it as a downtown. I think it was great this year — better than last year for sure.”

Joining Havelka, Shypkoski said she wanted to make sure to thank the customers — both old and new — who came downtown during the busiest holiday shopping weekend of the season.

“We appreciate all of our customers who came down,” Shypkoski said. “They’re the people who make our small businesses go.”

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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