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Connecting with Community on Small Business Saturday

By Kristi Dorn, Editor | November 11, 2020

There are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. that make up the unique and dynamic landscape of local communities. (Small Business Administration, 2019)

Small Business Saturday is on November 28 this year. It’s an opportunity for retailers to drive revenue, attract new customers, and cater to loyal ones. For more than 10 years, the American Express-created shop small movement supports the personalities and vibrance that these businesses bring to local communities.

Just like the holiday season itself, Small Business Saturday is about community. At a time when people are craving connection, there’s an excellent opportunity for retailers to show customers how they’re involved in the community.  

As you make plans for the day, you may want to incorporate the organizations you support, such as local athletic teams. For example, partner with a school team to facilitate a touch-free shopping experience at your physical location. While students load cars and carry packages for customers, they can collect tips as team donations. Another way to drive traffic to your store is by being a collection point for charitable organizations (coats or food drive) or by hosting a blood drive or other small events. Read on to learn how two Epicor retailers are doing just that.

Epicor Retailer Profiles

Hardware Retailers Recognized for Community Service

For two community-minded Epicor retailers, community involvement is pretty much business as usual for them. They are exceptional examples of how you can incorporate community support into your business to raise awareness while giving back—on Small Business Saturday and all year long.

The owners of Island Home Center & Lumber and Akard True Value Hardware were also recognized this fall with 2020 Beacon Awards for Community Service from The Hardware Connection magazine. The program recognizes retailers who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities during Covid-19.

Island Home Center & Lumber
Vashon Island, Washington
2020 Beacon Award for Community Service
Owner Earl Van Buskirk

Earl Van Buskirk owns and operates the island’s second-largest store—and has for 32 years. It’s a 15-minute ferry ride from Seattle, a city hard hit by Covid-19.

The location gives Earl the opportunity to sell what may be considered unusual stock for hardware stores. His inventory includes animal feed, apparel, sporting goods, and fishing supplies, as well as beer, wine and liquor. But beyond offering convenient on-island access to goods, the store actively participates in community giving.

From first responders to the Rotary, Island Home Center supports several community causes and organizations. For example, they recently donated a large quantity of face masks, tents, and propane heaters to the island’s Covid-19 drive-through testing site. They also frequently hold blood drives in the store parking lot.

“We support Rotary, do a lot with the local schools and churches, give to kid’s sport teams in the community and help the food bank as much as possible,” Earl says.

Akard True Value Hardware
Zionsville, Indiana
2020 Beacon Award for Community Service
Owner Leigh Ann Akard

Community service is a way of life for third generation owner of Akard True Value, Leigh Ann Akard. In its 65th year, Akard’s involvement in local charities and nonprofits reflect her big heart and generous spirit.  

The business supports The Caring Center, an organization that provides food, clothing, and other essential items to those in need. The store also serves as a collection site for Sew 2 Serve, an organization that makes fabric face masks.

Leigh Ann also works with the HAWK Foundation, a nonprofit that provides free seasonal events to families who have members with special needs. “Our VIP carnival for the HAWK Foundation had to be canceled, but we’re determined to make sure our Christmas event happens this year,” she says.

And of course, she’s happy to be in a position to help during Covid, “We are so grateful to be an essential business during the pandemic,” Leigh Ann says.

Saturday, November 28

On Small Business Saturday, the communities of Vashon Island and Zionsville are likely to remember the stores that are so visible and involved in their local areas.

It’s a good time of year to tap into the connected values of your community. Try something new this Small Business Saturday by partnering with local charities and nonprofits to generate attention, donations, and shopper traffic that benefits both your store and their cause. Then promote your support in-store, on your website, and on social media.

By supporting the community and offering a safe shopping experience, it’s possible to eclipse your 2019 SBS sales—contributing to a total that rang up a record high last year of $19.6 billion.

Epicor celebrates the contributions of small businesses everywhere. To the hard-working owners and staff who bring economic vibrance to the communities they serve.

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