Small Business Saturday Brings Takeover Promises For Brevard Stores

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Fairies and dragons. Mermaids basking in martini glasses. Fantastic, oceanic gifts fill the high and low stacked shelves in Melbourne’s Glitter Alley boutique.

When Bonnie Hernandez and Morris McQuay opened their fairytale store 10 years ago, they saw challenges in running a small business. But then the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic arrived.

“I remember standing in the store thinking we weren’t going to make it: we have all these Christmas bills, and two months we haven’t had any business and I won’t make it”, Hernandez said, her voice shaking as she recalled last March.

Through community outreach encouraging Brevard residents to buy local, they survived. Days like Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, help spread this message. A year ago, Small Business Saturday’s Glitter Alley end-of-day receipts stretched across the store; Hernandez and McQuay are hoping for a repeat this year.

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The pandemic has hit small businesses particularly hard. Stay-at-home orders have forced non-essential businesses to shut down temporarily. Customers were buying online to avoid leaving their homes. According to the US Department of Commerce, consumer spending rose $ 93.4 billion, or just 0.6%. But for some businesses, it was too late, of the 163,735 small businesses that had temporarily closed, 97,966 permanently closed in August 2020.

“If you had asked me for something a few years ago, I could have told you that if you do this it will happen. If you do this it will happen,” said Cheri Hart, store owner of conscious lifestyle. and the Aquarian Dreams Yoga Center in Indialantic, talking about running a business.

It was before COVID-19. Now?

“All those years of experience don’t seem to matter so much because everything is different now,” she said.

Cheri Hart and her daughter Shana Shanks prepare merchandise at their Aquarian Dreams store.  Aquarian Dreams, located at 414 N Miramar Ave.  at Indialantic, will turn their yoga studio into a community clearance sale for Small Business Saturday.  They will have hundreds of products for sale with a 50% discount.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was created after the 2010 economic recession by American Express to support small business owners. According to surveys conducted by American Express, buyers have spent a total of $ 140 billion over the past 11 years on Small Business Saturday.

With the pandemic, it has become even more important to local business owners.

In addition to pandemic closures, mom-and-pop stores nationwide are struggling to compete with Amazon and others specializing in online sales. COVID-19 has pushed Americans to shop online more than ever before. According to eMarketer, in 2020 online sales accounted for 14% of total retail sales; 40% of them were from Amazon.

However, Jon Shaneberger, owner of Village Beach House at Cocoa Village, a store that provides beach decorations, believes Amazon will never be able to replicate the relationship it has with its customers and the Cocoa Village community.

Jon Shaneberger, owner of Village Beach House, looks forward to Small Business Saturday.  Buyers can look forward to special Saturday sales for small businesses at the Village Beach House located at 15 Oleander St. in Cocoa Village.

Shaneberger said events like Small Business Saturday help to strengthen those ties.

“People really support (Small Business Saturday) because, you know, a lot of my customers even say, ‘Amazon has had enough,’” Shaneberger said. “I have a lot of loyal customers who really like the store, I do well here, and they come in and it makes them proud to say, you know, ‘I want to spend money on a little store.’ “

When Shaneberger notices that his customers like certain products, he makes sure to stock up. When he realized that there was a great demand for Talavera pottery – a style of Mexican pottery known for its use of bright colors – he began to supply it and built up an impressive collection of lizards, Talavera Christmas pots and trees for sale.

“A lot of these things aren’t really common. You know? Amazon doesn’t even have a lot of these things,” Shaneberger said. Customers “like to have a store where you can get that kind of choice. They want us to be here.

A variety of Talavera pottery can be found at the Village Beach House located at 15 Oleander St. in Cocoa Village.

Kim Agee, executive director of Melbourne Main Street, stressed that shopping small didn’t just support small business owners. It also has an impact on the community.

A study by Civic Economics found that for every million dollars in sales in a small business, $ 450,000 is returned to the community. In large chain stores, only $ 170,000 out of every million dollars returned to the community.

Small business owners “are the people who give gift certificates and sponsorships to, you know, ball teams, sports teams and… dance teams,” Agee said. Small businesses “are really the backbone of those who support these organizations”.

For example, Hernandez and McQuay donate to five local nonprofits in Brevard County: Driven by Heart, Genesis House, Love is a Verb Ministry, Taylor for Teens, and Touch of Gray.

Small businesses also provide jobs. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses employ about 47.3% of the US workforce.

“If Cocoa Village is to be successful, everyone has to hire staff for the stores,” Shaneberger said.

Small Business Saturday Events

To add to the excitement of holiday shopping, some small business associations are planning events to coincide with Small Business Saturdays.

For example:

Melbourne: Melbourne Main Street will host a candlelight shopping event.

The Event begins at 5 p.m. with the annual tree-lighting ceremony at Campbell Park. Then shoppers can listen to Christmas carols, visit Santa Claus, and take a horse-drawn carriage ride. The event takes place at Campbell Park from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Titusville: Titusville will have a Holiday Market where the first 500 shoppers can expect gift bags full of goodies. Participants can also eat in food trucks and listen to music. The Event takes place in downtown Titusville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Cocoa: Historic Cocoa Village Main Street will be holding its fourth and final Sip and Walk of the Year, a Event where shoppers can pre-purchase a ticket and enjoy wine tastings at some of the stores in Cocoa Village while they shop.

The Sip and Stroll will take place in Myrt Tharpe Square from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets for the event can be purchased through or at Ossorio’s Bakery & Cafe.

“After all the turkey on Thursday and the big box stores on Friday, come here, have fun, shop small, support your local merchants,” said Susan Bailey, accountant for Historic Cocoa Village Main Street.

Amira Sweilem is the Data Journalist at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Sweilem at 386-406-5648 Where [email protected]

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