Volunteers handing out bags at Cooper-Young’s first Small Business Saturday.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping period of the year. Starting with Black Friday and ending with Giving Tuesday, billions of holiday dollars are spent.

One of the newer shopping days is Small Business Saturday. Cooper-Young is known for its small and local businesses but has never taken part of this day in an organized, concerted way. All that changed this year. Cheryl Mesler of Burkes’ Bookstore, the Cooper-Young Business Association, and the Cooper-Young Community Association teamed to pull ten area businesses together and make this a unique and fun event with giveaways, drawings, special deals and discounts, music and more.

Each participating store offered a gift box worth over $100 to offer all customers who made a purchase. CYCA and CYBA hired three live bands chosen by Goner Records, which included Jana Jana, Cassette Set and MOTICOS who played in the gazebo and attracted many passers-by. With the weather sunny and in the 60s, hundreds of patrons came out to support the Cooper-Young shops. The CYCA gave out free coffee and tea while giving away punch cards to encourage shoppers to visit each participating store. If they visited all the stores, they received a grab bag giveaway.

Shoppers hailed from all over Memphis, including Cordova and Germantown. Shop owners expressed their satisfaction with the event and the large number of shoppers that came in their stores. Overall, the event was declared a success and there is already talk of what will be added next year.

“Small Business Saturday was fantastic,” said Mrs. Mesler. “Working with the businesses and with the Cooper-Young Community Association and business association was really energizing. And seeing all the visitors come to the neighborhood that day just confirmed how lucky we are to live and work in one of Memphis’ best communities.” — Sheree Stubblefield

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