Maui businesses hope shoppers buy locally this holiday season because it's good for the shops and it's good for the community.
Small Business Saturday, this Saturday, would be a good start. Maui shops have been gearing up this week for the event, a movement founded by American Express in 2010 that is dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. It is held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
"We are excited," said Jessica Guard McLellan, co-owner of HUE, a lifestyle and home boutique in Kahului. "We feel it stands for something; it's an important concept. The more you support local the more it trickles down into your community."
According to the American Booksellers Association Indie Impact Study Series survey of independent, locally owned business owners, 52 percent of the money spent at independent, locally owned businesses stays in the community and supports local organizations and services.
McLellan and co-owner Wendy Takemoto did a traditional "Black Friday" sale the day after Thanksgiving last year, which turned out strong sales results, but decided this year to concentrate on the Saturday event, where they are offering different specials.
The store that opened a year ago sells furniture, pillows, rugs, artwork and gift items, including candles, picture frames and jewelry, as well as kids' gifts and books.
Paia town again will have its own set of events for Small Business Saturday, where merchants will have discounts on clothes, ornaments and other items. Some businesses also will offer refreshments and music.
One of those businesses is Pearl Butik, a lifestyle store with furniture, textiles, gifts, jewelry, clothing, candles, soaps and bedding.
"We are going to be serving up holiday cheer," said owner Malia Vandervoort.
She will have refreshments, including banana bread and pupu, and music.
Her store will be offering a 15 percent storewide sale, except for furniture.
It is important to support the community and small businesses, she said. In addition, the Saturday event will give shoppers a break from the hustle and bustle of the Black Friday madness, she said.
Rose Potter, executive director of the Paia Town Association, said Small Business Saturday brings people into the surf town, which normally isn't so busy with shoppers on Saturdays.
"There were definitely people shopping last year," she said of the Saturday event.
"It's just a small-town version of Black Friday, where you're going to shop at your friend's shop rather than a box store. . . . It's a nice opportunity to show off the fact we are mostly locally owned; it brings attention to that and kicks off the holiday season, too."
American Express is giving cardholders a $10 statement credit when making a purchase of $10 or more at qualifying small-business locations Saturday. Cardholders must register at www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/.
For more information on Paia Town's Small Business Saturday, go to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/paiatown.
The U.S. Postal Service is showing its support for Small Business Saturday by putting up banners at some post offices and providing shipping for Shop-Small branded merchandise on the shopsmall.com website.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.