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Jacksonville's homegrown stores seek local love on Small Business Saturday

They are open in Avondale and Atlantic Beach, as well as San Marco, Riverside and all over shopping districts in Jacksonville and its beaches.

And after shoppers tackle the big box national retailers on Black Friday, owners of these Mom and Pop stores hope local buyers swarm their shops on Small Business Saturday.

San Marco Merchants Association board member Jen Burnham said Small Business Saturday helps that neighborhood's shop and restaurant owners "pay their bills as a family." She co-owns Lush Leaves at 1566 Hendricks Ave. with wife Brandi Burnham. They grow and sell unique houseplants, plus offer plant therapy, landscape design and other services.

"By and by the best thing you can do for the holidays is to shop small," Jen Burnham said. "You are not supporting just a big box store; you are supporting somebody's dreams and their ability to take care of their family. So if you can buy the same merchandise and support a local business at the same time, it's hugely appreciated."

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010. Its annual Consumer Insights Survey shows that total reported projected spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion in 2021. That is up 18% from $19.8 billion in 2020 and 2019's pre-pandemic spending of $19.6 billion, the American Express survey says.

The 2021 Florida Small Business Development Center's prosperity report indicates that small businesses in the state had a $3.9 billion impact on the state's economy. And the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida uncovered $169.7 million in regional sales in its North Florida region, which covers 18 counties including Duval, Nassau, St. Johns and Clay.

Jen Burnham said the San Marco community has always supported its small businesses, many able to just walk to the stores and restaurants on Hendricks Avenue and San Marco Boulevard. So she hopes that Saturday brings them a "bustling little shop."

"It's not just my wife and I — it's 12 other local vendors in this locations as well," she said. "They are makers of all sorts, so stopping at a place like our store, you are supporting several businesses at once."

There are some local Small Business Saturday events as well.

  • The nonprofit Downtown Vision organization, which works to revitalize that part of the city, hosts a Small Business celebration on Saturday to encourage local shopping. And that includes a QR Code Scavenger Hunt for early birds — the first 100 shoppers to seek out and scan at least five QR Codes at locally owned stores will get a $20 #DTJax e-Gift Card. And all shoppers who scan at least five QR Codes will be entered into a drawing to receive prize baskets from downtown businesses.
  • A weekly gathering of locally owned businesses, the Riverside Arts Market, operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its usual site under the Mathews Bridge, at 715 Riverside Ave.
  • There's the 33rd annual Christmas Made in the South, with dozens of local crafters and businesses from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Prime Osborn Convention Center at 1000 Water St.
  • Jacksonville’s Melanin Market will sponsor the Real Black Friday market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving at 822 A Philip Randolph Blvd. More than 125 Black-owned businesses, nonprofit organizations and artist vendors will participate.
  • And as the city's annual Light Boat Paradeprepares for its run at sunset Saturday along the downtown stretch of the St. Johns River, the 904 Pop Up will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. at the former Jacksonville Landing site, at 2 W. Independent Drive. More than 200 local creatives, makers and artists will be at the event.
Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.