The Saturday following Thanksgiving has become known as "Small Business Saturday" or "Shop Small Saturday" in recent years, encouraging holiday shoppers to pick up their gifts at small, independent businesses.
This year, the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce teamed with City of Lebanon Economic Development Director Sarah Haston, Historic Lebanon and the Better Business Bureau, making a strategy for local businesses to attract customers by the dozens during the busyshopping season.
"My idea was to get all of the merchants to combine their efforts to push it out further. We gave them a marketing plan, a calendar, artwork, ads to use and the resources of the American Express National Campaign," said Haston. "We taught them the best way to do social media marketing, how to share each other's stuff and how to use a hashtag."
Haston explained how she used the hashtag #shoplebanontn as a search engine mechanism to show which businesses were participating and who was having sales.
Over 50 businesses participated in Shop Small Saturday, with about 35 participating in the workshops and other events hosted.
"We had a kick-off in September and then a party to give them all of the things we had ordered to paint the town blue," added Lebanon Wilson County Chamber CEO Melanie Minter. "They were given tools. We couldn't physically be all over town, but the idea was for them to work together."
Shop Small was promoted through posters, online and bracelets featuring the slogan were given out in local businesses.
"We went out to other places in town, whether they were chamber members or not, and let them paint their stores blue too. We wanted everybody to know this was a big day for us," Minter said.
Haston said feedback from store owners was positive. One merchant said it was his best Shop Small Saturday in seven years.