Small Business Saturday Crawl designed to bring shoppers downtown

Black Friday may officially designate the start of the holiday shopping season, but downtown Augusta business owners are hopeful for locals to shop for unique items in their stores on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

Downtown Soul City, downtown’s merchant association, has organized the Small Business Saturday Crawl and has special plans for shoppers.

“This is the second year,” said Katherine Bonner, project coordinator with Augusta Downtown Development Authority, one of the event’s sponsors. “It started with a small group. We wanted to see if there was an interest.”

And the answer was a resounding “yes.” Merchants had gifts or planned activities for their customers, and within 90 minutes of the start, they’d run out of supplies because so many people attended.

Seeing customer response “was really exciting,” said Bonner.

This year’s event starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Augusta & Co., 1010 Broad St. The first 200 shoppers will receive a free specially designed canvas tote and a crawl guide.

At each crawl stop, patrons will receive a custom button with purchase. One button collected equals one entry into the grand prize giveaway, which features gifts from all participating locations, according to a news release.

“Small Business Saturday is such a fun way to do your holiday shopping. Not only are you supporting unique locally owned businesses, you’re also getting a fun day out with lots of incentives such as snacks and drinks, giveaways and special deals,” said Jennifer Tinsley, owner of FIELD Botanicals, in a news release. “You get to find handmade gifts that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s more like a celebration or festival, as opposed to ordering generic gifts online or suffering the lines and crowds at big box stores.”

Bonner said people are drawn to experiences. Members of the merchants’ group want to have a special event once a quarter designed to engage their customers and give them a shopping experience.

Over the summer, the merchants created Camp Soul City, a Saturday filled with special activities to bring customers to downtown Augusta. That was another success, she said.

Participating businesses for this year’s Small Business Saturday Crawl include 10Twenty-Eight, Art on Broad, Augusta Candle Company, The Book Tavern, Fetch 501, FIELD Botanicals, Freshwater Design Co, Grantski Records, The Morris Museum of Art Gift Shop, Tiffinie Bleu Bridal, Tire City Potters and Westobou Gallery. The Small Business Saturday Crawl is sponsored by participating businesses, Augusta & Co., Downtown Development Authority of Augusta, Kruhu and Mod Ink.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at