Mention Small Business Saturday to Juliette Martinez and she’s quick to say that customers who prioritize local shopping are what have kept her afloat for the past year and a half.
“People come in and say ‘We’re buying local, we’re supporting local,” said Martinez, who owns candle and gift store Enchanted Sugar at Cottonwood Mall. “I think that that is a positive thing that came out of COVID.”
Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday was created as a way to drive sales to local businesses during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
In 2018, New Mexico adopted the day as a tax holiday for small businesses.
Last year, consumers spent nearly $20 billion on Small Business Saturday at independent retailers and retailers across the country, according to the Small Business Administration.
It’s that type of local support that allowed Martinez to weather the past two years of the pandemic, she said.
“I have about 122 artists from all around the state and during COVID that was the only place they had to sell their art,” Martinez said. “We’re really fortunate that we have a really, really loyal customer base, that’s why we’re still here.”
Even though the retail store was closed last year to in-person shopping during the holiday due to state issued closures, her business still had a large volume of sales online, Martinez said.
She expects this year will be even busier.
New Mexico’s tax holiday allows certain retailers are able to deduct gross tax receipts on qualifying items less than $500.
Qualifying items, among others, include clothing, books, cookware, furniture and electronics.
Businesses often pass along the savings to customers, according to New Mexico Taxation and Revenue spokesman Charlie Moore.
For Albuquerque shoppers, the savings equate to roughly $8 for every $100 spent on local goods at small businesses.
Moore said New Mexico based retailers with ten or fewer employees are eligible for the deduction.
He said that only 20 businesses took the deduction last year, but he hopes more businesses will offer it this year.
Martinez said she is planning on participating in the tax holiday.
“Anytime you can help the local consumer by just a little bit more, that’s a positive thing for all of us,” she said.