Manhattan businesses are encouraging residents to shop locally this weekend, with a focus on Small Business Saturday.
Downtown Manhattan Executive Director Gina Scroggs says Small Business Saturday is a reminder to people about the impact small businesses have on a local economy.
“In an attempt to educate our community about why it’s so important to support your local and small businesses. Especially in these trying times it’s imperative that you shop intentionally local,” she said.
For this year, she says every $100 spent in local business, $68 stays in the community. That impact can be felt across the community.
“On a larger scale, if you do that year round, that literally translates into creating a healthy, vibrant local economy. You can really take care of your own, so to speak,” Scroggs said.
Most of the businesses have been feeling the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon them, with business down overall this year. It’s forced many to get creative and work to earn consumer confidence. Scroggs assures the community that all downtown businesses are taking the correct precautions to keep shoppers safe.
“As a district, we have really tried very hard to focus on keeping our employees safe. If our employees are safe and healthy, then your experience within those businesses tends to be that much safer,” she said.
Scroggs says around 70 percent of all small businesses across the country were dramatically impacted some way by the pandemic. Because of this, businesses have had to change the way they do business, which some businesses have done locally.
“While the pivot away from coming into the store has been painful, they have been able to take that same level of customer service and sort of redirect it, whether it’s curbside or getting into their own vehicles and delivering (to customers),” she said.
Scroggs says these alternative shopping methods helped the businesses survive the summer months.
Another key thing helping drive consumer confidence downtown has been the new dining platforms at downtown restaurants and bars. Scroggs says they’ve surveyed patrons, many of whom have credited those establishments as the driving force that brings them into the shopping district.
“We have regional visitors coming. We have people who would not go into a restaurant are now dining on the platforms when the weather is nice. It’s been really encouraging how well those platforms have served their purpose,” she said.
The platforms remain available through December 31. Scroggs says Downtown Manhattan, Inc. will approach the Manhattan City Commission to look at alternative ways to keep the platforms in place through the winter.