DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Small businesses all over the country are in the spotlight this weekend, including on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.
Small business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support mom-and-pop style shops and boost local economies.
Downtown Delray Beach is celebrating the diversity and success of small businesses along Atlantic Avenue.
You don’t have to go very far to get the charismatic charm of a cozy village filled with colors and textures. Instead, walk into Avalon Gallery and chat with Mavis Benson, the owner.
"I love it when they go in and say this is eye candy, or this is a feast for the eyes," she said, speaking about the North American glass art she has on display.
She said business has been booming for nearly two decades.
It’s with the help of events like this: Small Business Saturday. Plus, the help of the Downtown Development Authority. Benson said DDA helps out with marketing efforts, and as a guide for many businesses downtown.
Suzanne Boyd with DDA said small businesses in Delray Beach’s downtown are the bread and butter of the economy.
"These small businesses is what supports this small economy," she said. "We have this village by the sea charm that you don’t see in big cities because they have a lot of box stores and chains, we don’t have that here in Delray."
She said 96% of businesses downtown are small, independent shops, which means each time you walk into a store here, you’re becoming family.
"The locals are the ones supporting the restaurants and they're supporting these shops," Boyd said. "Visitors and tourists are important to our town too, but the locals are the heart of downtown Delray."
And family helps family.
A small business economic impact study found for every dollar spent at a small business, more than two-thirds of that stays within the community.
We also met Carrie Delafield, who started with one small shop and has grown to at least three stores filled with chic items like clothes and jewelry. She said one of the best things about this shopping holiday is that people are actually going into the store and shopping like before; in person and with someone there to help.
“It’s really a joy to find something for someone and it makes them feel really good about themselves and they face the day really feeling great,” she said.
She owns Periwinkle, Coco & Co and Morley, three almost side-by-side stores on Atlantic Avenue.
Delafield said shopping small keeps the wheels of the economy turning, and the culture and camaraderie in a city growing.
“When you shop local, you’re not just supporting the stores,’ she said. “You’re also supporting people that are sponsoring a little league team, events in the community, and it becomes Delray is such a wonderful place to be. It’s a special village by the sea with all this wonderful culture.”
Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010 and co-sponsored by the United States Small Business Administration in 2011. Users are rewarded for supporting the small businesses in points, miles or cash back.