Shopping on ‘Small Business Saturday’ Builds Local Economy


Downtown is the Place to Be for the Holiday Season

You’ve heard of Black Friday. It’s the day after Thanksgiving when the official holiday shopping season commences. It’s tagged Black Friday because that day often indicates the first day many American retailers would get out of the red (debt) and turn a profit, or move into the black (more income than expense) on their financial records.

It started in the early 1960s in Philadelphia was the term was used to describe the significant pedestrian and vehicle traffic that occurred the day after Thanksgiving. Today’s retailers are now opening at insane hours of the night (3 am, 4 am, and 5 am) in order to attract more and more shoppers. Over the years, Black Friday has turned into a big box store promotion.



You’ve also heard of Cyber Monday, a national shopping promotion to encourage Americans to shop online. It started in 2005 and has resulted in billions of dollars of online retail transitions in just one day. Now used internationally, nearly 80% of online retailers have substantially increased sales on Cyber Monday. In the last three years, Cyber Monday sales have increased 16%, 22% and 17% consecutively.

One of the more recent additions to the calendar is Small Business Saturday, the national marketing campaign created to encourage Americans to shop at small, locally-owned, bricks and mortar stores. Initially created in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday will take place the Saturday after Thanksgiving on November 30. Downtown Missoula is the place to be, as almost 100% of the businesses located downtown are small, locally-owned, bricks and mortar stores.


The Naturalists Merc

Small Business Saturday provides an enormous boost for small, locally-owned retail stores in Downtown Missoula, as well as providing public awareness about the value of shopping in stores that are owned by local Missoulians. For each one dollar that is spent at a locally-owned store, an additional seven dollars will be turned over in the local economy.

Paradoxically, for every dollar spent online or at a national box store, that dollar typically leaves the community in support of someone else’s economy (think Bentonville, Ark., Minneapolis, Minn., Green Bay, Wisc., or Issaquah, Wash.).

Downtown Missoula has nearly 200 retail stores and small food & beverage establishments that have exceptional product lines, gifts, service and more, plus most of them sell gift cards and/or gift certificates.


Runners Edge

When you shop Downtown, you are oftentimes purchasing the store owner herself, and shoppers experience exceptional customer service from small business owners. Many of our retailers also maintain a wish list for their regular customers, which make it so much easier to find the right gift for a loved one.

The options and choices you have when shopping downtown are incredibly diverse. Downtown stores offer all kinds of personal gifts such as apparel and jewelry; outdoor recreation gear, equipment and experiences; home décor such as furniture, art, rugs, dishes, bedding and more; plus personal services such as apothecary, massages, hair care and tattoos; plus countless food and beverage options for gift-giving and immediate consumption.

Shopping for the holidays in Downtown Missoula will have some added enhancements this year, as the Downtown community comes together to offer some special activities during the season. Specifically:

  • Downtown customers can enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides on East Pine Street on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-7 pm through December 22, thanks to Paws Up Resort.
  • Santa & Mrs. Claus will spend several days taking children’s wishes at Liquid Planet (223 North Higgins) on Saturdays and Sunday from TIME here through December 22.
  • The MSO Hub (140 N. Higgins) is offering free gift wrapping all season long.
  • As always, shoppers are encouraged to park in one of the two garages – West Main and East Front streets – where the first hour of parking is always free, and you can stay as long as you like.

Additionally, the Downtown community comes alive during December with a wide variety of holiday programs and activities. These make for both great experiences and great gifts, so don’t miss out!

This season do your holiday shopping at your locally-owned businesses and find those exceptional personalized gifts you are seeking in Downtown Missoula. You’ll enjoy the experience much more than you would elsewhere, and your expenditures will be reinvested in the community of Missoula.


LindaMcCarthyMissoulaLinda McCarthy has been a Missoula resident for more than 25 years and serves as Executive Director of the Missoula Downtown Association, a private non-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and enhancing the vitality of Downtown Missoula. She and her family live in the Farviews Neighborhood, and her husband, Tom Gallagher, is a computer science professor at UM’s Missoula College. Linda holds two degrees from The University of Montana and was the 2008 Montana Alumni of the Year.





MIM NewsletterLike this blog? Don’t miss another one. Sign up for our E-Newsletter.  It provides you with a list of all the week’s stories/blogs and is delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.