The Daily Pennsylvanian: University City encouraged to shop small

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Link to original article with photo. 

[Photo with caption: Emily Dorn and her husband Sean Dorn, who own crafts store VIX Emporium, participated in American Express’ Small Business Saturday last Saturday. The event gave cardholders a $10 statement credit when they spent more than $10 at a local business.]

American Express encouraged University City residents to shop small this weekend.

Saturday was the company’s fourth annual Small Business Saturday, which gave American Express cardholders $10 statement credits on purchases of $10 or more at small businesses across the country. Over 50 retail stores and restaurants near campus participated in the event.

“Communities depend on the strength of their local businesses to grow and thrive,” University City District Marketing and Communications Director Lori Klein Brennan said in an email. “Small businesses are an important part of a community not only because they give the neighborhood character but they help encourage entrepreneurialism, spur economic development and drive the economy at large.”

One local business that participated in the event was VIX Emporium, a craft and gift store on 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue that sells unique items ranging from jewelry and pottery to home goods. In addition to the discount offered to American Express cardholders, VIX Emporium gave a free tote bag to those with a purchase over $100.

“A lot of people came in even if they didn’t spend enough to get a special,” VIX Emporium co-owner Emily Dorn said. She added that the event was a “redeeming quality” of American Express.

Three American Express cardholders shopped at VIX Emporium, and six qualified for the free tote bag on Saturday, which was the third Small Business Saturday in which the company participated. Dorn noted that sales from this year’s event were down by almost 30 percent from last year.

This year, American Express also decreased the statement credit amount. From its kickoff in 2010 until 2012, the company offered a $25 statement credit for purchases of $25 or more.

Other retailers near campus that participated in Small Business Saturday include Gia Pronto on 37th and Spruce streets, White Dog Cafe on 36th and Sansom streets and Piper Boutique on 34th and Walnut streets.

Small Business Saturday complements existing University City initiatives to promote local businesses. Their activities include organizing the Baltimore Dollar Stroll, which encourages University City eateries to sell food for a dollar, and Dining Days, University City’s form of Restaurant Week when restaurants serve a pre-fixed three-course menu for $15, $25 or $35.

“UCD is supporting local businesses every day with all that we do,” Brennan said.