WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Small Business Saturday comes the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the goal is to encourage customers to shop local. Right here in Wichita, 20 minority entrepreneurs set up shop today at The Center in northeast Wichita to sell their products. Event organizers wanted to bring several vendors right to the consumers’ doorstep.
“It’s very important to us that people get off of online shopping and get away from corporate Amazon shopping and they utilize the people they have in their community,” Bringing it Black co-founder Autumn Black said.
“We’ve been here about five years now since we started,” Dolce Lawless, Shea by Dolce CEO, said. “Each year it’s great to come back to any event in the city and be like, ‘Oh, we saw you last year,’ or, ‘So good to see you guys are scaling up and growing.’”
Small business entrepreneurs across the city agree this annual spotlight on local companies is essential to business.
“When we allow too many large companies to start to take over, then you have that one person that owns one company that’s controlling so much of the market,” Jazelle Thomas, owner of JBYS, said.
Thomas said Small Business Saturday allows that buying power to stay with the people.
“The more you support small businesses the more that money continues to circulate in our communities,” Thomas said.
Some entrepreneurs see working for themselves as a way of supporting their families and that support can go along way.
“Fifty dollars that you invest in a small business can be their groceries, their lights,” Grow with Ari owner Arianna Jackson said. “Whatever it is.”
Events like this give them an opportunity to create and grow generational wealth.
“We do whatever it is that we can to make it easier for them to show up in different ways that they can support their families–that they can just be as creative and be very intentional about how they want to give back to the world,” Black said.
These trendsetters and creatives are grateful to have a space to expose them to customers they normally would not have access to.
“There’s an excellence and magic behind us that we want to be able to share,” Catherine Lawless, Shea by Dolce CEO, said, “and it’s great to be able to share that with people who don’t know us or people that do know us.”
A study from American Express shows small business owners estimate this holiday shopping season will determine if they will be able to survive in 2022.