Get to know your local shops on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

Steve Parsons, who owns Choccolatte’s and Third Street Treasures with wife Michele, hopes Highland Lakes residents give the locally owned small businesses a look during their Christmas shopping — as well as the rest of the year. In 2010, American Express started Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, to encourage people to shop local. This year, the day falls on Saturday, November 30. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

After they come through the door the first time, Steve Parsons is confident they’ll be back again and again.

“The thing is, we have to get them in the door,” Parsons said.

That door belongs to Choccolatte’s, the small chocolate and sweets shop on Third Street that Parsons and wife Michele own and operate. Next to it is their other business, Third Street Treasures, which sells home furnishings and decor.

Getting shoppers’ attention is an issue for small businesses across the Highland Lakes.

“Our small businesses make up our small community,” said Kim Winkler, executive director of the Burnet Chamber of Commerce. “It’s what makes our town so special and unique.”

Business owners such as Parsons and small business advocates like Winkler are encouraging shoppers — particularly locals — to support these locally owned establishments on Small Business Saturday, which is November 30. It comes the day after Black Friday.

“It’s a perfect time to encourage people to remember our small businesses,” Winkler said. “Saturday, when you get up, our stores will be open and many will be running special promotions.”

Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010 during the height of the recession to push shoppers to local businesses. The initial effort blossomed over the years. The U.S. Senate even passed a resolution to recognize the day.

According to American Express, for every dollar spent at a locally owned small business, 67 cents stay in that community.

To Parsons, it just makes sense for people to shop local.

“We support the community, and by shopping in small businesses, you’re supporting the community as well,” he said.

It surprises Parsons that some Marble Falls residents don’t know about his shop, which has garnered plenty of attention across the state and beyond for its handmade Pecan English Toffee.

But he has some advice for those people when it comes to local businesses.

“Walk in, check them out,” he said. “I think people would be surprised by all the stores and shops down here.”

Parsons pointed out that Choccolatte’s and Third Street Treasures get good foot traffic from visitors to the Highland Lakes but not so much from residents.

Winkler sees the same thing in Burnet, so she’s getting the word out.

“Be an explorer,” she said. “Pull in and stop at those businesses and stores you drive past every day.”

You might discover your new favorite spot to shop.

A good place to find local businesses are chambers of commerce. Visit the chamber websites in Burnet, Marble Falls, Kingsland, and Llano for more information.

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