Small Business Saturday a hit with shoppers
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 4:49 AM
Although their teams were competing against each other on the football field, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University fans found one common cause to agree on Saturday.
Shoppers supporting both the Sooners and Cowboys showed up at BoomerTown USA in The Farm Shopping Center on a Bedlam Saturday that happened to be Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 to focus on independently owned shops. The idea was conceived by the American Express corporation and has since been widely endorsed by business groups and politicians.
In fact, President Obama shopped at an Arlington, Va., bookstore on Saturday to bring attention to the day, which falls between the Black Friday chaos commonly associated with malls and chain stores and the deals found on the Internet on Cyber Monday.
Rhonda Wade of Sperry came to purchase an OU football DVD at BoomerTown USA and said she was impressed with the selection of sports memorabilia at the store, which also offers OSU and TU merchandise.
Wade said she was glad to make the purchase at a small business, one of several locally owned shops inside the shopping center at 51st Street and Sheridan Road.
Bo Rainey and his 6-year-old son, Max, dropped by Dog Dish on Saturday to pick up a new collar for the family dog, Dexter.
The subject of small business is a personal one for Rainey, whose wife, Susan, launched Yellow Dog Design Works in downtown Tulsa in 2007.
"The heart and soul of the community is local business," said Bo Rainey, an attorney.
He said this was the fifth or sixth time he has visited Dog Dish, whose owner, Emily Langdon, was in the store on Saturday along with her dog, Spencer.
At age 28, Langdon is probably a little younger than the typical business owner. She said the opportunity to combine her love of dogs with owning her own business came up three years ago.
"When you spend your money at a small business, the money stays local which helps our local economy," Langdon said.
She said another positive aspect to shopping small is that the customers and store personnel can develop a personal rapport in a friendly atmosphere.
While Langdon is relatively new to the business world, Fred and George Espigares of Espigares Watches & Clocks are carrying on a lengthy tradition that began in Europe.
The brothers' grandfather, Juan Espigares, started the family business in Calatayud, Spain. In 1959, Juan's son, Antonio, brought it to Tulsa, where he worked from his own home. Fred and George then opened a shop selling and repairing clocks and watches in The Farm Shopping Center in 2003.
Fred Espigares said small businesses such as theirs feature service and follow-up care that are often missing from Internet transactions.
Fran Spraker dropped by Dog Dish on Saturday after seeing an advertisement on television. She ended up buying a couple of treats for her dog, Boomer.
Spraker said she thinks it's important to support local shops.
"Too many small businesses disappear too fast," Spraker said.
Of course, the idea behind Small Business Saturday is for people to make a habit of visiting such establishments.
American Express claims on its website that more than 100 million shoppers visited small businesses last year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
"I'll be back," Spraker told a Dog Dish employee. "I might even bring Boomer next time."
David Harper 918-581-8359
BoomerTown USA sales associate Mike Cox shows a University of Oklahoma T-shirt to customer Sandy Downing of Broken Arrow at The Farm Shopping Center in Tulsa on Saturday. Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World