Mixed Results Reported from Black Friday Weekend
Small Business Saturday described as more successful of promotions.
Sole owner Anne Mastroianni had gone a week from the Black Friday weekend without crunching the numbers. When asked, she finally took out the calculator looking to calculate how much she made over the weekend, which included American Express' Small Business Saturday.
Furiously going through receipts and typing on the calculator, Mastroianni suddenly stopped when the realization hit her.
"Oh my God. Holy Smoke!" she said.
She said her sales were up 35-percent from last year.
"That sounds ridiculous," Mastroianni said. "But it's true."
Mastroianni said sales weren't particularly high on Black Friday but they were significantly higher on Saturday. She said she doesn't know if it had anything to do with Westfield's promotion of the first annual Small Business Saturday - a nationwide campaign sponsored by American Express. She said she did notice, however, more foot traffic in the downtown.
"The word is unofficially that it [Small Business Saturday] was a very good start to the holiday season," said Sherry Cronin, the executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation.
American Express sponsored the campaign to draw attention to the importance of patronizing independent, locally-owned stores. They've now extended the event through the month of December.
The DWC promoted the event with the slogan,"If you love Westfield, shop downtown on November 27th."
"For being the first time it was beneficial to have a large company like American Express behind it," Cronin said.
However, owners of most businesses in the downtown said they didn't see a dramatic uptick in sales this year despite big Black Friday promotions and Small Business Saturday.
The owner of Roman Boutique, said he didn't notice more customers on Saturday.
"It was just a regular Saturday," owner Sam Korkmac said.
The owner of Galeria West Art and Framing reported the same thing.
At Castle Bootery, they said most people came into the store because they were running a special on Uggs.
Robert Treat Deli also participated in Small Business Saturday.
As part of the promotion American Express would give a $25 statement credit to 100,000 card members who registered their card at www.smallbusinesssaturday.com and used it to spend at least $25 at any independently-owned local small business that accepts American Express cards on that Saturday.
Mary Kasich, the wife of the owner of Robert Treat Deli,, said very few people came in to take advantage of the deal, even though the deli had signs up around the store.
"It was advertised all over the radio but I don't know if people really listened," Kasich said.
Kasich said she told people when they bought food and paid with their American Express card that they should go home and register their card online.
Kasich said she stopped by several local businesses on her way home to see if they were participating in the program. She said most businesses didn't even know about the promotion.
"If more people learn about it, it would really be something," she said.