ABQ area retailers gear up for Small Business Saturday

Shoppers who walk into Stitchology next Saturday will find a little more than just cloth, spools and sewing kits.

Every year, Melisa Hart, owner of the Chatan Sewing and Fabric Shop, does something special for Small Business Saturdays.

This year, she’ll be serving mulled cider and cookies outside; inside, customers can learn how to sew one of her Christmas stocking patterns, or make and take home fabric ornaments.

“I like to try and give them a little incentive to get involved or do something fun and special,” Hart said.

American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 to celebrate the day after Black Friday, and it was co-sponsored by the Small Business Association of America a year later. A survey by American Express estimated that consumers plan to spend $23.3 billion at small business Saturdays at independent retailers and restaurants in 2021. Over the past 12 years, the company found that consumers reported spending $163 billion a day.

Hart said Small Business Saturday is one of her busiest days of the year. Last year, Hart’s sales were 280 percent higher than the Saturday average.

There has been a surge in the number of people participating in the program in the last year. In November 2020, just 20 businesses filed with the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue for tax deductions totaling about $10,000—half the number of participants in the first year in 2018, when 40 businesses filed.

However, in November 2021, 258 businesses across the state filed tax savings claims totaling approximately $186,000.

“There’s a concerted effort to spread the word that really makes a difference,” said New Mexico State Tax Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke.

The Departments of Taxation and Revenue, Economic Development, and MainStreet, New Mexico have been working hard to raise awareness and plan campaigns around the tax holiday.


The New Mexico Legislature instituted an annual tax holiday on Small Business Saturdays in 2018. Businesses located in New Mexico with fewer than 10 employees can claim a gross receipt tax exemption for the day and pass the savings on to their customers.

New Mexico State Tax Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke said small shopping helps New Mexico’s economy.

“It’s preserved the employment base here,” Shardin-Clark said. “More of the money we spend when we shop locally goes back into the local economy than when we shop at a big box store.”

While several other states have tax holidays throughout the year, New Mexico is the only state to offer small businesses a tax holiday on Saturdays, according to the Tax Foundation. New Mexico also offers a back-to-school tax holiday in August.

Impact felt

Hart recently celebrated her company’s 11th anniversary at 2502 Rio Grande NW. Although Small Business Saturdays was launched nationwide around the time she opened Stitchology, she said more customers didn’t realize the day until after the state introduced a tax holiday in 2018.

Keri Piehl, owner of Color Wheel Toys, said the holiday also helps customers discover local businesses around Albuquerque.

“It’s definitely only going to have an initial impact on the bottom line,” Piehl said. “But then I thought that it also remembers the businesses that patronize throughout the year … it helps to encourage and promote the small business community.”

Former teacher Piehl ran Color Wheel Toys as a seasonal pop-up store for five years before moving into its permanent location at 6855 4th NW in Rio Rancho earlier this year. Small Business Saturday is in the middle of the toy season, with Christmas just a few weeks away.

She said she prepares for the day by making sure the shelves are stocked.

Piehl said small businesses brought an increase in sales Saturday. But she said most of her customers decide to shop not because of the tax holiday, but to support locals. Some were even “surprised” by the tax break.

Schardin Clarke said the tax holiday this year could help customers cope with higher prices.

“It’s great to be able to get a tax break, especially at a time when households are battling inflation,” Schardin Clarke said. Great way for local businesses.”

Carolyn Richter opened her low-waste supplement store, People & Planet Refill, at 3223 Silver SE on Earth Day this year. Customers can bring their own containers and fill them with laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap and more to reduce packaging waste.

This will be Richter’s first Small Business Saturday as a business owner. She said she didn’t know much about tax holidays until she opened her Nob Hill business.

“More people, more customers should know about it,” Richter said. “Because if they can get out and stay in business, you know, they get the full amount of money, but the customer still gets the discount, then everyone wins, right?”

Richter said she felt pressured to offer promotions at small businesses on Saturdays, but decided not to offer discounts.

“Even if I do have a sale … I can’t compete with the big box stores anyway. If Target has a Black Friday sale, then I can’t compete with that,” Richter said. “So my thinking is, if you’re going to show up on Small Business Saturday, you’re supporting businesses because you care about them.”

Richter said many small business owners have told her that Small Business Saturday is a “make or break” day. Small business owners can increase their budget for the slower months of the New Year as holiday spending increases. Boosting spending on days like Small Business Saturdays can help business owners prepare for a month of slower economic growth.

“What a lot of other people have told me is … they really, really, really want them to have a really good final quarter of the year,” Richter said. “Because they may not have enough income to cover day-to-day expenses in the new year.”

The holiday begins Saturday, November 1 at 12:01am. On the 26th, the day ended at midnight.

“If you haven’t found your favorite local business yet, now is a great time to find your favorite business in your neighborhood,” says Schardin Clarke.

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