As you are scrolling through your Facebook Feed, after eating that big Thanksgiving meal, think about what your plans will be this weekend.  Consider Small Businesses in the area on Saturday.  What is Small Business Saturday REALLY? Small Business Saturday got its start in 2010 when American Express launched it as a marketing campaign.  They held 27% of the credit card market for small business purchases, so it made sense for them to target this particular day each year.  In 2011, Congress passed holiday resolutions to recognize Small Business Saturday each Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Shannon Kishel-Roche, Executive Director of the Chisholm Chamber of Commerce.

Why is Small Business Saturday important?  Each dollar spent locally returns three times more money to the local economy, according to USA Today. Shannon Kishel-Roche, Executive Director at the Chisholm Chamber of Commerce adds, “Small businesses are the ones that support the community.  For every school or activity fundraiser, medical benefit fundraiser, or community event, it is our local brick and mortar businesses that donate gifts, prizes, and sponsorships to support us.”

“Our Mainstreet businesses are owned and operated by your friends and neighbors. Voting for a healthy small-town culture with your dollars is another way of saying, “I want you here. I want my community to have life, personality, and spirit.” says Teresa Appelwick, President of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce in Virginia.  

Aden Casey is an owner at Casey Drug in Chisholm, he sees Small Business Saturday like this: “It’s a good opportunity to get everybody to support local businesses and think about intentionally supporting our local businesses”. He continues, “It’s community building and it builds your local economy, but also it builds a fabric of the community.”

“It’s important to remember we are still here versus Amazon. It’s probably easy on Amazon but small businesses are so important to your community.” says Brooke Forseen, Assistant Manager of Canelake’s Candies in Virginia.  She also stressed the importance of having that personal experience. 

According to Bankrate, 96% of holiday shoppers feel small businesses provide better experiences than large businesses in at least one of the following areas:

  • The shop’s unique gift ideas (56%)
  • Customer service experience (54%)
  • Fostering a sense of community (44%)

Appelwick adds, “The holly-jolly goodness and vibrancy that comes with an active community out shopping store-to-store is the kind of place I want to live – don’t you? You can be a part of creating that every time you shop with your small businesses.”  

Click this link to view the 2023 Laurentian Chamber Gift Guide.  

Brooke Forseen, Assistant Manager of Canelake’s Candies in Virginia.

Back at Canelakes Candies, a small business who has been making candy since 1905, staff look forward to seeing all the customers on Small Business Saturday. “It’s the kick off to the Holiday season!” Foreseen said.  This Saturday they will have 20% off of Minnetonka Moccasins and a free candy cane making demonstration beginning at 1pm.  “It’s open to the public so they can come watch us make the candy canes and take home a little sample and participate.” says Forseen.  If you can not make it in on Saturday, you can order candy online at their website: She stresses,  “Place orders by December 10th for guaranteed Christmas arrival.”  Fudge, Turtles and Hot Air are some long time favorites for those who frequent Canelake’s. 

Erin Powell, owner of the Sugar Shack in Virginia

Erin Powell, owner of the Sugar Shack on Chestnut Street in Virginia says, “We are trying to make a difference whether it’s selling candy or cookies or Jue’s across the street, we all have a niche and create something that is unique for the community to love.”  This weekend they will be serving breakfast all day from 8am to 4pm, plus pizzas and drinks.  They will be having vendors in the “Back of the Shack” for you to do a little extra shopping.  They also have plans this month to have Shannon Alaspa do a Trivia Night, live music nights and will be having a wine tasting event. Powell adds, ”I think that the next month and a half will be pretty crazy busy, but we are just trying to get people in a family environment and offer a little bit of everything.” To view thier website with hours, menu and events, go to:

Aden Casey, Owner of Casey Drug in Chisholm.

At Casey Drug, Aden tells us, “We have lots of Christmas gifts, Christmas decor, Holiday foods, special things like that. We will also have some samples of the holiday food products like cookies, chip mixes and drink mixes. So, definitely come check it out!”  He let us in on a little secret, the hot item in the store this Holiday Season is Infinity Lights.  “Everybody is buying these Infinity Lights. They are just real cool Christmas decor for your livingroom for the holiday season.” Casey said.  If you want to see some of the items available at Casey Drug, go to: 

Also in Chisholm, “The Chisholm Area Chamber of Commerce sells a lot of Chamber Cash this time of year-which makes great gifts-and keeps money in our community.  The chamber promotes specials, sales, open houses of small businesses on social media and in our newsletters.”  View their website here:

Teresa Appelwick, President of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce in Virginia.

Shannon also reminds us, “Remember our hair stylists, insurance sales agents, financial planners, banks and more contribute not only to our community, but also to other small businesses as well!”

When you support a local business, you’re not just buying a product or service; you’re investing in relationships. Appelwick states, “Small business owners often know their customers by name, provide personalized service, and contribute to the sense of community that makes our town special. These connections go beyond transactions, creating a web of relationships that bind us together. By choosing to shop small, you contribute to the social fabric of our community and help build a stronger, more resilient, and interconnected local economy.”

Joy McJingles writes about Iron Range Tourism and Holidays on the Iron Range. Blogs are posted on Thursdays and Sundays.