Shopkeepers discuss benefits of shopping local on Small Business Saturday

: Smalls businesses celebrating Small Business Saturday discuss the importance of shopping local to the stores and the community. (Ramzi Abou Ghalioum/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) On the heels of Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday, a day small businesses celebrate with discounts and deals – however, local businesses also benefit from drawing attention to themselves. For Vintage Junky owner Bristyn Hunziker, small businesses are an integral component of the city’s economy. “I think it’s very important to shop local to keep us in business,” said Hunziker. “You know, the big box stores they have places in the lower 48 and whatnot, and just to keep the money in Fairbanks.”

Vintage Junky, whose stocks are made up of used items hand picked by Hunziker for resale, fulfills a role Hunziker says was missing in Fairbanks. “I felt like the community needed a place to recycle and reuse, and everyone seems to enjoy it. That’s why I opened it,” said Hunziker about her store.

Hunziker and other storeowners, like Lily and Mae’s Jessica Danielson, use their stores to buffet other local businesses. “My biggest goal is to support the small business enough where we give them a platform to spring from,” said Danielson. “So that way, hopefully, they get to where they’re so successful that they don’t need us and our shop anymore that they can take it other places and then I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Customers at these local businesses expressed similar sentiments when asked why they shopped local. Vintage Junky shopper Natalie Huffman claimed that recycling and reusing allows people to shop more responsibly. “Instead of just throwing away old clothes or pushing your clothes to the back of the closet,” said Huffman, “Creating space so that other people can reuse, and I’m all for that. Everything I’m wearing right now…is reused and I love it!”

For others, like Lily &Mae shoppers Erin Sheffer and Kelly Steele, shopping small allows them to take advantage of products and opportunities not afforded them at larger stores. “There’s…tons of goodies that are amazing here that you’re not gonna get anywhere else in town,” said Sheffer. Steele adds that everything at the store was unique and high quality. Remarking on the uniqueness of the products one could find in a small business, Steele says, “You could go somewhere like more of a chain, but anyone can get that anywhere.” Steele adds that in addition to the uniqueness of the store, the uniqueness of being from Fairbanks adds to the value of the products.

Vintage Junky Bristyn Hunziker also shares that customers should distribute their business not in one store, but amongst all local businesses around town. “I think there’s so many different small businesses around town that are having sales and deals,” said Hunziker, “And it’d be great for everyone to just shop local this holiday season.”

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