Business owners in Maplewood take advantage of ‘Small Business Saturday’

MAPLEWOOD, MO - Locally-owned businesses in Maplewood and across the country took their chance to turn big profits on Small Business Saturday.

Four furry legs worth of inspiration helped open Airedale Antics, an independent pet shop in Maplewood.

“And, we have an Airedale, named Gracie Bear. She’s at home. She’s only one. So, she’d probably do more damage than good here.”

Co-owner Sheri Phipps has another title.

“I am the Mom in “Mom and Pop.”

So, Saturday was just for people like her, working to make Black Friday money on Small Business Saturday.  During the busiest shopping weekend of the year, American Express and Enjoy Maplewood helped shop owners with promotional items, social media, and marketing that may otherwise be too expensive.

“My marketing budget is very small,” Phipps explained. “So, I would imagine a couple hundred up to a thousand dollars.

She admitted big-box stores keep customers with a sense of predictability, but she adds flexibility.

“If [cats] get three-fourths of the way through the bag, and the cat won’t eat it anymore, all they have to do is bring it back to me. It’s a little different than some of the box stores.”

Phipps added she can save her customers on vet bills because she personally monitors the ingredients of the foods she offers.

“If I run out of something, I always have something else that can replace it and not put the dog or the cat at risk from a dietary or nutritional perspective.”

A survey by American Express estimated if all American businesses with fewer than 100 employees were a country, that nation would have a gross domestic product of $4.8-trillion the same as Japan.

“In my ads for Small Business Saturday, not only do I talk about my business but I also suggest and encourage people to go shop all of my colleagues.”

American Express also estimated that two-thirds of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the surrounding area.

“If we don’t have something and we know one of our colleagues in the community has it, we are going to refer you right down there to them,” Phipps said. “The more money that is spent here, the more that it is going to come back around. And, it's ultimately going to impact the customer.”

For Sunday, Airedale Antics offered their monthly $5 nail trim for pets – including ferrets. Phipps said proceeds would go to the Bi-State Pet Food Pantry.