Breckenridge celebrates Small Business Saturday | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge celebrates Small Business Saturday

A small crowd crammed into the tight aisles at Peak-A-Boo Toys on the morning of Small Business Saturday.

Like most merchants on Main Street in Breckenridge, Peak-A-Boo's owner of 14 years, Jeff Boyd, saw a boost in crowds for the Thanksgiving weekend. Although Boyd said Saturday morning was off to a slow start, he anticipated more people coming in.

Peak-A-Boo was one of 50 merchants participating in the second annual Ticket to Breckenridge event. As part of Small Business Saturday, the event encourages both locals and guests to shop small. Shoppers were given a game card which listed participating stores. For every store they visited they got a signature. For every 10 stores, shoppers gained one entry into the prize drawing.

Each store gave an item worth $40-$100 as a prize, whether it was gift cards or merchandise from the store. Breckenridge Ski Resort provided a grand prize, as well as a prize for one of the participating merchants.

Robert Prescott, a local shop owner and one of the creators of the event said that last year Ticket to Breckenridge didn't go as smoothly.

"It was our first year, we didn't know what we were doing to be honest, but now we've learned," Prescott said.

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This year, Prescott used the information to improve upon the game. He said the game is a fun way to get people to go into stores they may not normally have walked into. Reem Badwan, who owns and operates six jewelry stores in Breck, said the game is not only meant to draw in tourists and guests, but to bring locals in to shop in town as well.

"It's such a good way to promote the town," she said. "(Locals have) always been our biggest struggle."

Small Business Saturday started six years ago. It is a national shopping event that coincides with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Nationally, it is one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. While some businesses in Breck worked with the event's national sponsor — American Express — many of the businesses opted for the local option in Ticket to Breckenridge.

As part of his efforts to strengthen Small Business Saturday this year, Prescott also worked on forming the new 10k' Merchant Association of Breckenridge. His goal is to get as many of the local businesses on board as possible, in order to make Breckenridge the place to go.

"It's been evolving like everything does," Prescott said. "I see the potential in Breckenridge as a shopping destination. Our goal is to be the best shopping destination in the region, and honestly, if not the world because we have some seriously unique shops."

Another benefit of Small Business Saturday is that customers are coming in with the goal to support local shops. Jodie Schmidt, the owner and manager at Arabella Boutique said that it gave her the opportunity to speak with a lot of her shoppers.

"I like it because there's more of a personal vibe," Schmidt said. "There's always just a little bit more of a warming, heartfelt feeling."

She added that second-home owners in Summit County are the majority of her customers because they bring in their friends and families for holidays.

Visiting skiers can sometimes mean the mornings on Main Street are quiet in Breckenridge — the shops tend to pick up more toward the afternoon as skiers finish their morning powder runs.

"Two o'clock in the magic hour," said Scott Magnuson, who has owned Creatures Great & Small with his wife, Jane, for over 30 years.

The Magnusons are just one example of the many family-owned and operated businesses that participated in Ticket to Breckenridge. Prescott is another example. He and his wife, Donna, own and manage Young Colors as well as Cowboys & Daisies on Main Street. For Prescott, that dynamic spoke to the true message behind Small Business Saturday.

"One thing that's encouraging about this list is they are all owner operated, and that's what shop small is all about: celebrating independent businesses," Prescott said.