I have been a small business owner for 19 years. I remember when the concept of Small Biz Saturday first began being thrown around in 2010. It was just after the recession of 2008 and the small businesses that had survived were barely hanging on. Cactus Creek had just moved into our 4th location at 400 Main Street where we are still located in Weston MO. My life was a bit of a mess. My marriage was failing, I had three boys under the age of 7, I was $80,000 in credit card debt. It was ugly. I had no business opening another location - I should have shut it all down and gotten a “real job”. But I remember that spring standing in the middle of Main Street staring at our building. I WANTED that building but I was pretty sure it had been sold to someone else. And again, I knew I needed to find something more sensible than my dream of owning a retail shop - I had failed. But then God showed up on Main Street as I stood there, and whispered in my ear - “this is what you’ve been called to do. It might not be easy. You will never be rich, but this is your calling.” So maybe those weren’t the exact words but that’s what filtered into my soul.
We got the building and a month after we moved into 400 Main was the first official Small Business Saturday on November 27th, 2010. I have absolutely no recollection of any impact it had on our business that year. We are in the smack-dab middle of the United States so trends trickle in from the coasts. I really don’t recall planning for Small Business Saturday until 2016-ish. According to the American Express website ”in 2011, the Senate unanimously passes a resolution in support of the day, and officials in all 50 states participate. It even gets a. shout-out from the president of the United States.” It was easy to see from the beginning that if small businesses didn’t get a back up they were going to sink and systematically destroy the foundation of retail in our country.
Only 9 years into the movement American Express created to celebrate the impact of America’s mom & pop shops it has become an annual tradition. As a retailer I am blown away by the number of shoppers that show up on Small Biz Saturday. It is often one of the top ten sales days each year. As for our story, we have survived the last nine years. I am now a single mom of three teenage boys. I paid off the debt, then made more in an effort to grow which was a mistake. Tough lessons but after 19 years I am embracing being a very small business. We have learned to streamline and buy with precision. There have been some scary seasons. But to our customers - if you keep showing up, we will too. Nothing we’d rather do than this shop with you people. I keep telling God that I can do something else. If He will download a new dream I’m all in, but this is clearly still the calling. So thanks to each of you who showed up today on Small Biz Saturday - and every other day. It all matters ❤️