PANAMA CITY — Some local retailers saw a jump in year-over-year sales for the annual Small Business Saturday last week, raising their hopes for the rest of the holiday shopping season despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers across Bay County have felt the financial pinch from the raging pandemic this year, forcing them to change how they operate. As such, the annual small business shopping event became more of a way for local retailers to make up for some of the revenue they lost when they were shut down earlier in the year. One business in particular, Dan's Pawn Shop, saw an increase in sales this year compared to last year's Small Business Saturday.
Ron Pekrul straightens merchandise at Sunjammers on Tuesday after a successful Small Business Saturday. Tony Mixon
"Saturday was about 10% to 12% bigger than last year's Small Business Saturday," said Avery Adcock, owner of Dan's Pawn. "Last year was more about us still recovering from the hurricane and stuff like that." Adcock added that it surprised him that they did better than last year because of the pandemic and people not wanting to get out and shop. He said he thought it would be even to last year and the fact it was better was great for his employees, since they would be getting a bump in commissions.
Kathie Patterson, owner of Gypsy Beach Treasure Kreations, prepares a Christmas display in her store on Tuesday. Tony Mixon
Down the street at Sunjammers, employees saw people line up before the store opened on Saturday. Sunjammers owner Brad Stephens said his staff was ringing up a customer's sales on average every 3 minutes and 33 seconds on Saturday for nine straight hours. Stephens said it made him feel good that local people still support small businesses even during a difficult year.
Some jewelry from Dan's Pawn Shop. Tony Mixon
"They were glad we were here, they were glad we were open and thanked us for supporting the community and the nonprofits on a year-round basis," Stephens said. "They were here to show their support, so that we can continue into 2021 with the local nonprofits we partner with." Sunjammers had an uptick compared to last year and Stephens said he did go into the Small Business Saturday a little nervous about the turnout. It was more because, according to Stephens, Black Friday seemed to be off for the big retail stores, so he didn't know what to expect. The turnout on Small Business Saturday gave Stephens confidence going into the holiday shopping season. He said residents in Bay County aren't holding back and they are supporting small businesses this holiday season like they always do.
Guitars at Dan's Pawn Shop. Tony Mixon
The owner of Gypsy Beach Treasure Kreations, which sells art from more than 30 local artists, described its Small Business Saturday as "outstanding." "We were up in sales over last year, in dollars and in the amount of people," said Kathie Patterson, owner of Gypsy Beach Treasure Kreations. "To be in a pandemic, people not getting out and wanting to be around other people, it was a lot of people." Patterson had to shut down her store in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she said that Small Business Saturday kept it open for another month. She also is excited about what the holiday season will bring and is confident Bay County residents will support small businesses this season.
Ron Pekrul of Sunjammers said Goodr sunglasses were popular items on Small Business Saturday. More than 40 sold at the store. Tony Mixon
Small businesses are considered the backbone of America, since most jobs come from small businesses. Adcock said that small businesses in Bay County probably could promote Small Business Saturday a little bit better, much like big businesses promote Black Friday. "I'd love to see small businesses do a better job of advertising their sales. I think we all think of Small Business Saturday as let's go patronize small businesses," Adcock said. "I don't think anybody thinks of 'I'm going to get a bargain on Small Business Saturday,' so other than putting fliers in front of our window, that's the extent of our advertising." Adcock said he's fearful of some small businesses going under in Bay County after dealing with Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the importance of supporting the local small businesses this holiday season more than ever.
You can view the full news story here: