Thousands of shoppers made their way around Lebanon last Saturday during the annual Small Business Saturday shopping event.
Lebanon Economic Development Director Sarah Haston led a marketing seminar for the more than 80 businesses that participated in this year’s Small Business Saturday, an annual national event to highlight a community’s locally owned businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday.
Haston said that about 14 businesses attended the first seminar in 2016. This year the businesses received merchandise and memorabilia for Small Business Saturday.
The marketing seminar taught businesses to increase their presence on social media and online for the event.
“Each year, we’ve been able to add elements from the educational side and the idea was to teach them how to market themselves and they all are able to do that now. You’ve seen the growth,” Haston said.
Shoppers participated in a contest by “checking in” at participating business. The business with the most check-ins during the day received money toward its marketing efforts.
This year more than 1,200 people participated in the contest, about 300 more than last year.
“Obviously that sales tax revenue goes straight to our budget, but having thriving businesses really tells the story of Lebanon. As I’m out there recruiting and you have all of this buzz about new stuff, the beauty of our city is our local businesses and how unique they are. We’re not full of chain stores and restaurants. I think that really shows the heart of our community,” Haston said.