Senator Jeff Merkley & Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish join Main Street Alliance & Little Boxes Businesses to promote shopping on Main Street this holiday season

Portland, OR - Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish walked Main Streets in St Johns and NW Portland earlier today talking to small business owners participating in this year’s Little Boxes PDX campaign. Little Boxes PDX was dreamt up just before Thanksgiving in 2011 by jewelry designer and small business owner, Betsy Cross, of betsy & iya. Working with her husband and business partner, Will Cervarich, the vision became a reality that first year with 90 shops participating and thousands of participating shoppers across Portland. Since then, Little Boxes PDX has grown every year. 

This year, more than 200 small business owners from all around Portland joined the campaign, offering discounts, donating prizes and helping to support each other throughout the holidays. The spirit of community drives Little Boxes each year, and shoppers who patron their local Main Street businesses experience the things that make small, locally-owned businesses so great—personal customer attention and unique goods and services. 

IMG_2995 Devon, co-owner of hammer + vine; Senator Jeff Merkley; Commissioner Nick Fish

Leaders with The Main Street Alliance of Oregon were pleased to work with Commissioner Fish and Senator Merkley to promote shopping on Main Street this holiday season. Commissioner Fish visited businesses in St Johns. We then met up with Senator Merkley in Goose Hallow at Hammer + Vine, and on to the Alphabet District to Clogs N More, Manor Fine Wares and ended up at Child’s Play Toys. 

It’s so important to get the word out about supporting Main Streets across America, that way our customer’s hard earned money can stay where it belongs—in the local community. We’re certainly not alone in promoting shopping at small businesses during the holidays, though.

IMG_3027 Pat, owner Child's Play Toys; Senator Jeff Merkley; Betsy Cross, co-owner of betsy & iya and co-founder of Little Boxes PDX

Along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, comes Small Business Saturday, a marketing campaign created by American Express. On the surface, it sounds like a good thing.  After all, small businesses are the engines of job growth, and shopping small keeps money circulating in the local economy. Every Saturday should be Small Business Saturday. 

But, for small business owners, American Express’ marketing campaign is a slap in the face, allowing the Wall Street titan to hitch its PR wagon to the iconic Main Street brand while generating enormous profits on swipe fees from billions in sales, paid for by small businesses and our customers. American Express charges merchants the highest swipe fees – around 3.5% of each transaction – of any credit card company.  In addition to charging hefty swipe fees, AmEx typically takes twice as long to settle transactions with merchants as Visa and MasterCard, which can hurt the cash flow of a small business. The dirty secret of credit card rewards programs is that they are paid for by the small business who swipes your card.

After all is said and done, though, there are some great ways to support your local small businesses this holiday. Consumers who want to Shop Main Street this holiday season can:

  • Shop in a locally owned business, that way your hard-earned money stays in your community and supports businesses who support their employees and their communities.
  • Pay in cash or use a debit card. 

This holiday season, remember, shop in small Main Street businesses—support the businesses who support you!

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