You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti business owners hope for Small Business Saturday boost

By Katrease Stafford

the rocket.jpg

The Rocket, at 122 W. Michigan Ave., is one local business planning to offer Small Business Saturday deals.

Angela Cesere |

While the big box retailers were prepping for Black Friday, local businesses were getting ready for their big day as well. Small Business Saturday takes place Nov. 24 and encourages the patronage of independent stores to stimulate the local economy.

Ypsilanti business owners say they typically see sizable crowds on the day.

Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Tim Colbeck said he supports the event because a vast number of employers in the country are small businesses that create economic activity.

"There's a statistic that I've seen that says spending a dollar at a chain as opposed to a local store equates to 27 cents of a dollar staying local," Colbeck said. " Whereas, if you shop local, 72 cents stays local because it goes into taxes and salaries of those who are working local. It's just a better economic generator and it supports the local entrepreneurs."

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express, to put the spotlight on independent businesses and highlight the qualities those stores have that would draw more shoppers in. reports that an estimated 147 million Americans will shop this long holiday weekend, which is a 3.3 percent decline over 2011.

David Heikkinen, president of the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti and owner of Heikk's Decorated Apparel Studio in Ypsilanti at 133 W. Michigan Ave., said he believes a number of businesses in the area will be very active this Saturday.

"We have some great shopping down here and it's fun shopping," Heikkinen said. "These local businesses work hard and put so much of their entire being into their businesses. They help make downtown what it is. It's so much more unique than going to a mall."

Eli Morrissey, co-owner of The Rocket at 122 W. Michigan Ave., said he plans to offer American Express customers 20 percent off of their purchases that day and some "treats" will be available as well. Morrissey said Small Business Saturday is important for many reasons.

"Sometimes small businesses and retailers are overlooked during the holiday season because a lot of the big box stores have good advertisement," Morrissey said. "It kind of highlights that there are indeed other places to go and reminds people that there are alternatives."

Salt City Antiques owner Carol McEachran said she will try to offer some new products this Saturday. Salt City is located at 115 W. Michigan Ave.

"I plan on being open and I plan on being busy," McEachran said. "People find my shop fun and exciting because it’s a change from the typical antique."

McEachran said in the past, she has seen an increase in business on Small Business Saturday.

"There are people that live in the community and they do come out," McEachran said. "They would rather come to the small businesses versus the mall. ... We count on the local support."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

It amazed me on Saturday how many businesses are totally clueless. If they take the American Express card, and meet the definition of a small business (Quality 16 does and it's not "small", and many franchise locations do), they basically had the opportunity to get a bump in sales for FREE. They could get FREE marketing materials from Amex, and they could put big signs in the windows and in their circulars advertising the promotion. Few did that. In addition, they didn't need to add any discounts to get the business - simply say "American Express will pay the first $25 of your purchase if you register your card". Any promotion should have been built on spending MORE than $25. For example, "Did you know American Express will pay the first $25 of your purchase? Well, we'll ALSO give you X% off your purchase if you spend over $YY!". $YY should have been well above the normal purchase amount in the store, but something within reach. An incentive to both use the Amex promotion AND spend more than that. For example, "Spend $75 dollar, American Express will give you $25 back and we'll give you 10% off the amount over $25". The 20% off promo didn't have a min level, so that was really poorly thought out - especially if they spent LESS than $20...


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

We spent $36 at Barnes Ace Hardware on Washtenaw, $29 and change at Cottage Inn on Washtenaw, $26 at Quality 16 seeing the new James Bond movie, and $65 at Ashley's. Amex will pay $125 of those nearly $157 in spending.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

Ingrid Ault: Yes, it is limited. As of 8:40PM Saturday, they STILL HAVE NOT HIT THE LIMIT, with a signup that began last Sunday. So no need to throw cold water on it... You get an email within minutes confirming you are signed up.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Katrease is a good journalist, but this article and this paper as a whole is not much more than a series of advertisements. Who invented this goofy little holiday? Just another meaningless, corporate designed day like Valentines or Sweetest day. The rich are truly vampiric in nature. And how would this even really put money back in the community? Local stores carry mostly big name products like everybody else. When you buy them, the money goes to THAT store then to whatever multi-million dollar brand created it. End of reinvestment.

Honest Abe

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

To Tim Colbeck: I had a conversation with the DDA, about a year and a half ago. It was with a woman who had an interim position, until you arrived, and I'm just going to tell you the way it was - She was drunk as a skunk! I hope this woman is no longer with the Ypsilanti DDA.

Honest Abe

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

As a long time Ypsilanti resident speaking, if our city was able to eliminate the thugs and trash that wonders our streets, perhaps more people will come to out town. We have a nice town, which could have a 'homestead' fell to it, but instead, we have groups of 6 thugs walking with their pants at the knees, taking up a whole sidewalk and refusing to move for a lady or a person who is handicapped. I'm sure the 'Narcotic dealing capital" AKA Ypsilanti Transit Center plays a role in things too! It's amazing how many drug transactions occur in BROAD DAYLIGHT in PLAIN SIGHT! Right under the noses of 2 on foot EMU Police officers and a security card who patrols the bus stop. At one time, Ypsilanti was a beautiful city, it was classy and overall was a nice looking town! Now, it's nothing more than 'little Detroit'. And just think, we all scratch our heads and go "Gee, I wonder why nobody comes here?" YPD is actually a great police force, but they need more funding and more cops! When all the thugs and criminal realize Ypsilanti is not for them, maybe we can have a nice town that we all hope to have one day.

Glen S.

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

This is a positive story about an event designed to encourage folks to patronize Ypsilanti's numerous diverse, independent businesses -- yet "Honest Abe" sees it only as an excuse to Ypsi-bash. "Narcotic dealing capital ... " "little Detroit ...", etc. Really?! Is this how you're trying to help local business-owners attract new customers to Ypsilanti? There's no denying that Ypsilanti still has significant issues ... but the progress made downtown over the last decade in terms of building renovation and successful new businesses has been really amazing. When I first moved here, many businesses were boarded up, and you hardly ever saw anyone downtown. Now (especially on Friday/Saturday evenings), there are people on the streets, and it can be difficult to even find a parking spot. Perhaps "Abe" would know that if he spent less time making nasty comments, and more time "wondering" downtown.

5c0++ H4d13y

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

My understanding is that Amex adopted SBS from someone that already got the ball rolling. Later on they had a falling out.


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Are there ever really new products at the antique shop? ;)


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

Why would a business give a 20% discount to Amex customers VS. cash customers? I understand from A2comments that there in an Amex promotion going on, but why incentivize a service (Amex) that the retailer must pay 3% per transaction?


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

@A2comments, I realize that, but it seems as if the store is doing something extra by the way it is written: "Eli Morrissey, co-owner of The Rocket at 122 W. Michigan Ave., said he plans to offer American Express customers 20 percent off of their purchases that day" It just sounds like an additional incentive. BTW, do you work for Amex? Haha, I see you are active on all of the posts about this :-)


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

They didn't need to do anything, just tell customers that by registering their cards Amex would pay the first $25...


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

You missed the main draw of this American Express promo. Click on the Amex link in the article, register your Amex card(s), and spend $25 or more at a small business and Amex will reimburse $25 in a statement credit. Businesses are listed on that age also, so you can verify they are a small business. If you have multiple cards on an acct, register all of them. We have 5. $25 at the hardware,$store, 25 for pizza, $25 for movies, and $50 at dinner (2 x $25 on separate cards).... great way to support local businesses!

Ingrid Ault

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Not to disappoint folks, but this is a "limited" offer. They don't tell you what that number is in the fine print anymore, but it used to be only available to the first 100,000 customers that enrolled. Plus it is too late to enroll now. So if you want to participate, next year sign up early!


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Draw of the promo is the discount. Supporting small businesses is the draw of the day. The promo gets people to spend more.