The biggest shopping weekend of the year is over, and Muskegon residents came out in the masses to support businesses big and small. Michael Hagen, General Manager at The Lakes Mall said, “Most of the stores polled at the mall were up over 50% with a few topping 70% increases versus last year. Many stores were in the black by 3am on Friday, which is pretty outstanding.”
Including carts and kiosks in the mall, there are 30 locally owned businesses operating this holiday season. More than half of those remain year round. Those looking for a true small business experience ventured Downtown Muskegon on Saturday for the Annual Holidays in the City event, a shopping event in conjunction with nationally celebrated, Small Business Saturday.
This year’s event featured 14 retail destinations in the downtown area that offered sales throughout the day. Andrew Haan, Director of Downtown Muskegon Now said that close to 500 people visited downtown which was nearly double last year’s participation. “The economic impact of this day will be felt beyond the holiday season for the majority of the downtown retailers,” said Haan. “It’s great that people are really beginning to familiarize themselves with what’s downtown.”
Many of the participating retailers said that there were new faces coming into their shops on this day. Kathleen Reigler, better known as the Cheese Lady, said, “We saw so many new faces, many of which were coming downtown for the first time in a long time.” The Cheese Lady reported that sales were up 40% over last year and that the event was a grand success. Joni Dorsett, Communications Director at the Lakeshore Museum Center agreed stating that their sales were up at least 30% over last year’s event. “Our sales more than doubled over last year's event,” said Jen Cross, Owner of Continuity. “Small Business Saturday was definitely a large contrast from Black Friday, giving shoppers a relaxed, unique & more sincere experience."
Bob Lukens, Community Development Director for Muskegon County said that the Convention and Visitors Bureau assisted over 100 people on Small Business Saturday. “Many visitors said they did not realize the variety of shopping options available in Downtown Muskegon,” said Lukens. “We were glad to be able to direct them to our downtown retailers and restaurants.”
To continue shopping small and supporting local businesses, visit Lakeside this Saturday for their Annual Holidays in Lakeside Event