Small Business Saturday Crawl boosts business for downtown retailers

(Feature photo: Customers shop at Freshwater Design Co. during the Small Business Saturday Crawl. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News)

Urban K9’s window dressed for Christmas Nov. 25. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

 With Santa on a red Harley giving away pup cups and the store featuring sales on all products, Urban K9 at 501 Broad St. was part of its first Small Business Saturday Crawl Nov. 25.

Organized by Downtown Soul City, 14 businesses participated in the event designed to draw people downtown to shop locally.

“We’re excited to be part of Downtown Soul City and all they do for downtown,” said Tonya Boswell, owner of Urban K9 which celebrates its first anniversary Jan. 24. The shop features everything for dogs and their owners including products as well as dog training and grooming services.

Small Business Saturday is a promotion founded by American Express in 2020 and officially cosponsored by the Small Business Association beginning in 2011 and has become an important day for small businesses bringing in $17.9 billion nationwide, according to the Small Business Association website.

The first 200 shoppers received reusable tote bags during the Small Business Saturday Crawl Nov. 25. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

David Hutchison, owner of the Book Tavern, said the Saturday after Thanksgiving has always been a good business day for his store, but the crawl promoted by the downtown merchants’ association has made a difference.

“With the crawl, it’s skyrocketed,” he said.

Augusta & Co. was the headquarters for the crawl with maps featuring participating merchants and free reusable tote bags to the first 200 shoppers. People received buttons for every purchase, and they were entered into a drawing for one of 14 gift baskets donated by merchants.

Santa on a Harley at Urban K9. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Kristin Varn at Art on Broad said the crawl highlighted downtown businesses for customers and encouraged them to shop local

Her store was brimming with customers early Saturday. The store sells a variety of art works from paintings and prints to glass globes and jewelry and more. Varn and her sister, Catherine Alexander, do framing. It was all hands on deck working to help shoppers with purchases.

Downtown Soul City offers two big events each year — the Small Business Saturday Crawl and Camp Soul City in the summer, but John Porter, Downtown Soul City’s director, said a new event is in the works for 2024.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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