By Megan Kelley
Small Business Saturday was held on Nov. 24 throughout Oakland County the day after Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday was created three years ago in an attempt to take the spotlight from the big corporate stores that so many people flock to on Black Friday, and focus it on to the small and locally-owned businesses that typically have a difficult time during the holidays.
“The goal of this contest is to get holiday shoppers to the brick-and-mortar businesses that are vital to our economy,” said Deputy County Executive Tim Meyer
Thanks to sponsors like North American Bancard, Bank of Ann Arbor and Flint Bishop International Airport, Oakland County was able to offer $7,500 in cash and prizes.
The contest brought more people out to shop locally than ever before. With around 2,000 shoppers and 375 registered businesses, there were 1,992 shopping receipts and $145,000 spent by shoppers, which is a 47 percent increase from last year.
Meyer publicly announced the winners of these prizes on Dec. 12 at 20 Front Street in downtown Lake Orion.
Among the winners was Orion Township resident Carla Tousley who received the 2nd place prize of $2,000 for dining at Bad Brad’s Barbeque in Orion Township.
Additionally, the Oakland County Credit Union awarded $1,500 in cash prizes to Oakland County employees and contractors Julie Skene ($250), Terry Castiglione ($500) and Amanda McMahon ($750).
Molly LaLone, executive director of the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority, awarded a gift basket to one of the many Lake Orion shoppers from that day. The winner of the gift basket of goodies from various downtown Lake Orion businesses was Dorey Kronick, who was visiting from Chicago at the time.
Lake Orion’s own Green Hippo Gifts led the county in receipts submitted for the second year in a row.
Though the contest is over until next year, it is important to remember to shop locally year round especially during the holidays. Money spent at small community businesses help your neighbors make their living and often gets funneled back into the community, helping it grow and thrive, LaLone and Meyer said.