APPLETON, Wis. — It’s been a good year for Beatnik Betty’s Resale Butik and owner Monika Austin.

What You Need To Know

  • Small Business Saturday is Nov. 27

  • A number of downtown Appleton businesses say the idea of shopping local is taking hold

  •  The U.S. Small Business Administration says Americans spent about $20 billion during Small Business Saturday last year.

It's something the Appleton business attributes to the customers — new and existing — who helped her business gain momentum through the pandemic.

“I’ve definitely found new customers coming in and having great talks with them - who have never been in before but it was like ‘Okay, I’m deciding to shop local and I’m going to check out what’s in my community,’” Austin said. “A lot of new customers that way.”

Shopping local is at the heart of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27, and it’s an idea Austin and others say is gaining traction with customers.

Having a day set aside just to support local-owned businesses also helps.

“People definitely take that day to find new places and really show their support,” Austin said. “In the 10 years I’ve been here it’s been an amazing, amazing day.”

It’s also a day, and idea, heavily promoted by organizations like Downtown Appleton Inc.

“Small Business Saturday means you’re selling extra gift certificates, you’re selling extra product and you’re getting that extra foot traffic,” said Executive Director Jennifer Stephany. “Quite honestly, it can make or break your holiday season.”

She said the idea of shopping local is a long-term trend that’s appealing to a growing number of shoppers.

“I think people are thinking a little more about what it means to be part of your community and keeping these unique, special, small businesses in our downtowns and in our communities,” Stephany said. “This is the heartbeat of our community and when those businesses start to go away, we start to look different.”

Austin said she hopes the interest in shopping local-owned businesses continues to grow.

“It’s really been great talking to new people, meeting new people and just seeing that awareness of it’s important to spend your dollar locally,” she said.