Wausau shops promote Small Business Saturday

By Laura Schulte at Wausau Daily Herald

Small businesses throughout the Wausau River District will open their doors Saturday and encourage shoppers to spend their money a little closer to home this holiday season.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide effort to get communities to shop at local stores instead of big box chains and online during the holiday season. The idea is that not only are shoppers able to find more creative gifts, but they're putting more money back into the local economy.

"When you shop small, it keeps a much larger chunk of money in the community," Liz Field, the executive director of the Wausau River District, said. "Sixty-eight percent of it stays in the community as opposed to 40 percent when you shop at big box retailers or zero percent when you shop online."

This year is Wausau's second participating in Small Business Saturday, and almost all of the retail businesses in the River District will be involved. Some will offer discounts to shoppers who come through on Saturday. The 319 Shops, which includes 319 Gallery & Bistro and Wigs n Things at 319 N. Fourth St., also will be host to an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to show off what the stores have to offer.

The Wausau River District also will offer shoppers a chance to get a free $50 gift card to one of the downtown businesses, just for taking a selfie inside one of the participating locations on Saturday. Simply snap a photo, use the hashtag #shopsmallwausau and post the picture to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to enter.

Small Business Saturday also is a great time for finding socially responsible holiday gifts in downtown, according to a press release from the River District.

Shepherd & Schaller, Kidz Closet and Studio 7 are a few of the shops that offer items that are fair trade, organic, and American-made.

Field said that although small businesses will be highlighted on Saturday, that's not the only time to think about locally owned stores.

"The importance of shopping small doesn't just coincide with Small Business Saturday," she said. "It's basically just an incentive to get out."

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(Photo: Robert Mentzer/USA TODAY NETWORK)

(Photo: Robert Mentzer/USA TODAY NETWORK)