LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — It’s that time of year when shoppers may hold off on buying something for the holidays because they might get a better deal on Black Friday.
With the nation entering month nine of the Coronavirus pandemic, small businesses are hoping holiday shoppers choose them this season.
In fact, they’re saying don’t wait for Black Friday — shop local now.
"To say that we haven't had places that are struggling would be a lie,” said John Beaudoin, a local resident and business owner of KC Communications & Media Matters in Lee’s Summit.
"Our Small Business Saturday is kind of our biggest day of the year and we're kind of banking on that this year. But hopefully, if it's not a big day for us, it'll be spread out over the whole course of the holidays,” said Ben Wine who owns the Local Foundery in downtown Lee’s Summit.
Black Friday in 2020 will be a far cry from the days where crowds waited in line for hours to rush through the doors for deals.
Luring customers in during a pandemic takes planning, as owner of KHL Design Studio, Kelly Langford, will tell you.
"We have brainstormed a lot of ideas. With this being our one-year anniversary, we are doing giveaways, we have gift bags where when you purchase something $40 or more you get a gift bag,” said Langford.
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from Sarah Blakely’s Red Backpack Foundation, Langford is able to afford going digital before Thanksgiving. "So although we're not Amazon, at least now will have an option for our customers to buy online," she said.
"These are not Amazon type places here in downtown Lee's Summit. These are brick and mortar stores that you have to walk into and shop and you get that experience here,” Beaudoin said as an Amazon truck drove by during our interview.
But what Amazon can’t give you, Beaudoin says shopping local can.
"Keep in mind that there is a story and a family behind every one of the shops in downtown,” said Beaudoin. “There is a family whose kids are going to school here, most likely in Lee's Summit."
"We are personally trying to eat more downtown and support our neighbors. I know that's the message that's been hammered out since COVID started but it is important," said Wine.
This holiday season it’s expected to be more important than ever.
"I would say we probably have maybe 30 to 40 local vendors in here in one way or another whether it's prints or T-shirts, signs," said Wine. "Coming in to buy from us obviously is going to be supporting them and I think the makers industry kind of had a rough few months with a lot of the shows that they do, being shut down."
"We really do see local people come out to support so we're hoping that also with shipping deadlines that we've seen this year that that will drive people more into our local stores as well,” Langford said. “Because they're really setting earlier deadlines this year and those last-minute shoppers are going to need places to go."
In the coming weeks, when you do buy local, know that your dollars stay local too, helping someone pay their rent, feed their family, afford childcare, keep their business open and people in our community employed.
This year’s USPS shipping deadlines can be found here.