Salt Lake City shoppers support Small Business Saturday

SALT LAKE CITY -- Shoppers around the country made an effort to buy local during Small Business Saturday, and Utahns were among them.

"It's the right thing to do, and it's the fun thing to do," said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

Mayor Biskupski shopped with her son and her son's friend in the 15th and 15th shopping district in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

“We're very excited to be here today and to spend this kind of time helping the community understand that, when you spend your money in a local business, that money stays in our economy," Biskupski said. "And that's a good thing for everyone."

The mayor was joined by representatives from Salt Lake City's Economic Development Team, Local First Utah, and American Express.

“If every household in Utah shifted just 10 percent of their annual spending towards locally-owned businesses, $1.3 billion dollars—that's billion with a B—would stay in Utah's economy,” said Kristen Lavelett, executive director of Local First Utah.

According to Local First Utah, for every $100 spent at local stores, $55.30 of it stays in the economy compared to about $13 when shopping at chain or big box stores. And its only pennies on the dollar when shopping online.

Lara Fritts, Director of Economic Development for Salt Lake City, was among those promoting local spending.

“If you're going to spend a hundred dollars for a holiday gift, think about just spending 10 percent of that—which is only $10—to a local business," Fritts said. "And if everyone did that, we can return over $1 billion to our local economy."

As the mayor shopped at The King's English Bookshop and at Caputo's Deli, she noted how local businesses contribute to the sense of community. Betsy Burton, owner of the King's English, agreed with those observations.

“We read the books, we listen to our customers, we know what they want," she said. "We don’t just hand them some book because somebody paid us to. They pay close attention to their customers, they care about customer service, its why we're different from chains or from the internet."

Lavelett said they encourage Utahns to spend locally all year long.

“Sort of the way Thanksgiving is a special day where we remember to give thanks, but that’s the kind of attitude we should always have," she said. "Small Business Saturday is a day where we remember to buy locally, but that’s the attitude that we should always have."

Matt Caputo, CEO of Caputo's Deli, said he's glad to be a part of the community.

“I think that we're really lucky in Salt Lake to be able to do what we do," he said.

It’s the Utah locals that keep these passionate small business owners going.

“To have, you know, the mayor come through and bring attention to us and have the crowds come through, it just reminds us that we're not the only ones that are into this stuff, and it just makes you feel so good to have, you know, the support of the community," Caputo said.