Everyone knows about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s covered to death by the media, analyzed relentlessly by Wall Street, and now rivals Thanksgiving Thursday for displays of excess, gluttony, and questionable individual behavior.
Myself, having worked retail from 1994 to 2008 (and now behind the scenes), I’m much more interested in what I call “Green Saturday”, the last Saturday before Christmas, when everyone rushes to get their shopping done. Ah… the days of having twenty registers ringing nonstop, as the store manager served as the line
nazi manager, and I kept the mood light at the end of the line! Good times…
But while the big retailers advertise door busters and compete to see who can open the earliest on Thursday, there are a lot of smaller retailers who get overlooked. Thus, American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help their small business account holders better promote their brick-and-mortar stores, offering free resources for businesses. Last year, over 100 million shopped during the day, and many businesses use the #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag to promote their stores year-round.
It’s no surprise that most comics shops are small businesses, usually a mom-and-pop operation of just one or two stores. Like small businesses everywhere, these owners work long hours, usually with small margins of profit, while offering outstanding customer service and creating vibrant community centers for customers!
Comics fans ourselves, we know we don’t have to encourage our readers to visit a comics shop (you probably do that every Wednesday)! We probably don’t have to encourage you to spend $50 in a comics shop (I used to budget $100 a week for comics)! But too often we overlook that which we take for granted.
If you’re out tomorrow shopping, stop by one of the smaller stores in your local mall or in a strip mall to do some shopping. You’ll probably find something interesting which would would be either overlooked or understocked at the local behemoth retailer. You’ll also find expert staff willing to recommend solutions to satisfy your most difficult loved ones with amazing customer service!
It also wouldn’t hurt to let your loved ones know that you would love a gift certificate from your local comics shop, or to even hand them a list of titles you’d love to receive! (Yeah, hope springs eternal…)
Myself, I’m doing my second annual Grand Tour of Omaha’s comics shops tomorrow, where I’ll try to chat with each owner while I shop, or at least the store manager. I’m lucky… both in Omaha and New York, there are an amazing number of great comics shops. If you’re lucky enough to live near such a store, let the owner know how thankful you are, and spread the word. Word of Mouth advertising is the most effective advertising available, and the cheapest. Tweet, post, blog your favorites!