WEDC Secretary and CEO will visit Viroqua retailers on Wednesday to raise awareness for the event

 MADISON, WI. NOV. 19, 2019 – To show support for locally owned independent businesses during the coming holiday shopping season, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes will kick off preparations for Small Business Saturday with a visit to retailers in her home town of Viroqua on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Hughes will encourage Wisconsin residents to take part in Small Business Saturday, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, the event will be on Nov. 30.

“Most of us have our favorite downtown retailers where we can find just the right gift for our families and friends,” Hughes said. “Small Business Saturday is a great tool for communities to showcase these unique local businesses.”

For the past 10 years, Small Business Saturday has provided a counterweight to after-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” sales, when malls and large-scale retailers try to draw shoppers by offering deep discounts and extended hours. Small Business Saturday is focused on getting shoppers out to downtowns and local shopping districts and is a welcome kick-start to the holiday season for mom-and-pop operations.

Hughes noted the small businesses in the participating communities of the Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs have a strong impact on their communities all year long, in terms of not only economic impact but also diversity of ownership. For example, 39% of these businesses are owned or managed by women.

These businesses also are strong traffic generators: in Wisconsin Main Street communities, downtown district businesses account for 14% of total retail sales and 27% of restaurant sales, said WEDC Downtown Development Account Manager Errin Welty.

“Since more than 90% of the businesses in our downtown districts are locally owned, this emphasis is a huge opportunity for them to introduce their goods and services to the community and make a personal connection,” Welty said. “Often locals are unaware of the wide variety of business offerings that are available, and any events that encourage them to visit new businesses are great for retaining local consumer dollars in the community.”

Welty said the average amount spent per shopper in Wisconsin on Small Business Saturday is $76, with 60% of that going to retailers and the remainder split between restaurant and service businesses. In communities with collective seasonal shopping incentive programs that extend from Thanksgiving through Christmas, Small Business Saturday represented between 10% and 13% of all spending for the season.

Small Business Saturday highlights the ongoing work of the Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs, whose purpose includes supporting local small businesses. Last year, more than 80 communities from these two programs hosted activities and promotions to draw shoppers to their downtown businesses.

To find information about Small Business Saturday in your community, visit: