Holiday Shoppers Score Big for Shopping Small

Holiday Shoppers Score Big for Shopping Small in Oakland County on Small Business Saturday

The holiday season got a whole light brighter for a collection of lucky shoppers who are sharing $9,000 in cash and prizes from the inaugural “Small Business Saturday” shopping promotion.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson played Santa today, handing out prizes to the appreciative bunch who gathered in the lobby of the Executive Office Building.

“We have to support our small businesses; they are the backbone of our economy,” Patterson said. “I’m glad the program took off as it did. Congratulations to all of the winners.”

“Small Business Saturday” took place November 26 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The goal was to steer holiday shoppers to independently owned brick and mortar businesses to help them enjoy a piece of the holiday shopping blitz enjoyed by larger chain stores.

Shop Small Win Big in Oakland County

Shop Small Win Big in Oakland County

Perhaps the broadest smile today was on the face of Clarkston resident Karen Walker. Her $35 purchase made at Picasso’s Grapevine in Independence Township was enough to qualify her for the promotion. Not a fan of shopping on Black Friday, she had heard about the contest and dreamed of winning the $500 travel voucher – one of the prizes offered – so that she could go home to Louisiana for Christmas.

“It’s just something you do, entering a contest,” Walker said. “But somebody else always wins, right?”

Wrong, at least for her. Patterson gave her a check for $5,000 as the grand prize winner, courtesy of North American Bancard. She’s booked her flight and is leaving Dec. 20 to go home for the holidays.

“This is a blessing, it really is a blessing,” she said, adding that today is her 48th birthday.

The promotion was patterned after the “Shop Small” campaign developed by American Express. “Small Business Saturday” resulted in more than 1,000 purchases made at more than 500 stores across the county and an additional $60,000 spending at small businesses in Oakland County, Patterson said.

Small businesses that registered for the promotion had a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card, courtesy of CEED Lending. Amanda Piszczek, owner of Bee Organic in Oxford, was the winner. She credited “Small Business Saturday” with expanding her customer base.

“We had some customers come who didn’t even know we existed before the contest,” Piszczek said. “A few of the customers from Rochester said they had heard about the contest and came all the way here to shop.”

The promotion required shoppers to text a picture of their receipt from any purchase made on Nov. 26 from any small business in Oakland County. The winners were selected by a random draw.

The public promotion winners were:

  • $5,000 courtesy of North American Bancard – Karen Walker of Clarkston
  • $2,000 courtesy of Flagstar Bank – Paula Klawender of South Lyon
  • $500 Southwest Airlines travel voucher courtesy of Flint Bishop International Airport – Christine Nicholson of Livonia

A separate promotion for Oakland County employees, who were not eligible to enter the $5,000 contest, offered a top cash prize of $500, courtesy of Oakland County Credit Union. Winners of the employee contest received up to an extra $250 if they were Oakland County Credit Union members.

The winners were:

  • $750 – Michael Townsend of Clarkston
  • $500 – Maria Danna of Waterford
  • $250 – Cassandra Zakens of Shelby Township
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