Concerns about struggling, small businesses prompted the Eden Prairie City Council during its November 17th meeting to re-confirm its annual endorsement of Small Business Saturday.
This year the national holiday shopping promotion, falls on Saturday November 28 during business hours. Last year, according to a City backgrounder, some 800 city mayors and officials supported Small Business Saturday.
In the year of Covid, the “Christmas creep” of holiday retailing was spotted at Menard’s, Patina, Kowalski’s and other Eden Prairie stores. Halloween pumpkins still accented front yards but artificial Christmas trees, large-inflatable snowmen and seasonal greeting cards were ready to buy.
Governor Tim Walz’ November 18th emergency closing orders did not include retail stores. However, bargain shopping binges on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday will need to be managed with level-headed social distancing by both stores and customers.
Background on Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as a local promotion driven by a few Boston retailers, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. During its first turn as a heavily promoted national holiday in 2012, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent at small businesses on Small Business Saturday. In 2018, that figure had grown to nearly $17.8 billion.
American Express provides a search map for local small businesses nationwide (including Eden Prairie) that accept AmEx cards. To find Eden Prairie businesses input zip codes 55344, 55346 and 55347.
EP Small Business Saturday: Support from City Hall
Prior to the Council’s November 17 Small Business Saturday proclamation, Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case said, “It’s really going to encourage Eden Prairie people, and all Minnesota residents, to frequent small businesses … We need them to survive post-Covid and they need our help now.”
Small businesses were also addressed at the same meeting by Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison during her report on the County’s multiple responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Callison said that Hennepin County had allocated about $40 million of support to local small businesses and of that about $700,000 had gone to Eden Prairie.
The funds, she said, helped businesses with 20 employees or less that had not qualified for federal support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security program – The CARE Act. Callison also reported that earlier that day, the County Board had added another $8 million to assist struggling restaurants and bars.