BRISTOL - Scott Fournier knows itâ€™s his knowledge and personal style as the owner of Shannonâ€™s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry that has kept him in business for 43 years.
For the past eight years, though, heâ€™s also opted to participate in Small Business Saturday, a celebration of small businesses and all they do for the community.
â€śWe believe in it,â€ť Fournier said before stopping to speak to two customers about the difference between several different diamond rings. â€śWeâ€™re a locally owned business. Weâ€™re local people born and raised. We believe in promoting your business. This is about donâ€™t forget the little guy.â€ť
Last year on Small Business Saturday, which was held Saturday, an estimated 112 million Americans spent a combined $15.4 billion at independent neighborhood retailers and restaurants across the country, the U.S. Small Business Administration said.
â€śSmall businesses are the engine of our national economy. We now have in the United States about 30 million small businesses. About half of all American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business. And two out of three new jobs are created by small business. Those are pretty powerful and compelling statistics,â€ť said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon in the press release.
Customers wait every year for the annual sales that are offered on Small Business Saturday, said Sharon Faucher, store manager of Good Cause Gifts in Berlin.
â€śWe offer 20 percent of the total sale off on Small Business Saturday,â€ť Faucher said. â€śEvery year people come and they love it. Weâ€™re not a Black Friday store, this is the day that people want something low key in their own town.â€ť
The store in Berlin is a non-profit run by Futures Inc., which is dedicated to creating and sustaining jobs with competitive wages for individuals with disabilities.
Futures director of the adult services program Jo-Ann Flynn was explaining the benefits of Small Business Saturday and the storeâ€™s mission when her friend Joann Kramer walked up with an armload of Holiday decorations and other goods offered by Good Cause.
â€śIâ€™m so excited she brought me here,â€ť Kramer said as she kept insisting many of the items were gifts and not for herself. â€śItâ€™s perfect here and itâ€™s for a great cause.â€ť
The store handed out Small Business Saturday pins and shopping bags to everyone who made a purchase. â€śThis is a chance to highlight how people with disabilities can blend into the community,â€ť Flynn said about the day. â€śItâ€™s a community for us. This is truly what we are, this is a small business.â€ť
Amatoâ€™s Toy and Hobby store on Main Street in New Britain was also hopping thanks to their Small Business Saturday sale. The sale actually started last week, but on Saturday they were offering buy one, get one free items and 15 percent off.
â€śWeâ€™re a small business and this is designed to give publicity to the mom and pop stores,â€ť said Amatoâ€™s sales clerk Danica Levesque.
Nearby Berlin residents Debbie Mangon and her husband Dave were waiting in line to pay for a dinosaur bone kit for their granddaughter and a slot car kit for Dave.
â€śWeâ€™re shopping for Christmas for the kids and the big kid,â€ť Mangon said. â€śYou canâ€™t find this type of stuff anywhere.â€ť
Levesque said the store participates every year in Small Business Saturday. â€śI think people are starting to realize that the crowds at the mall and the big box store are not what they want anymore,â€ť she said. â€śThey want to come back to the basics.â€ť
Shannonâ€™s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry not only offers a wide selection of watches, rings, necklaces, earrings and other jewelry, they do repairs and will do appraisals.
â€śWe are the quintessential small business,â€ť said Fournier who mailed out a 25 percent off coupon for Small Business Saturday. â€śWe have five employees and have been in Bristol for 43 years.â€ť
While people can purchase jewelry online or at the mall, they canâ€™t get the same personal service that they do at his store, Fournier said. â€śWe have a knowledgeable staff that can answer questions, we care about the community.â€ť
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com. Follow her on Twitter @LbackusNBH.