Badgers game brings potential shoppers to Small Business Saturday
MADISON, Wis. — Small Business Saturday in Madison saw an extra several thousand potential shoppers on the streets, thanks to the Badgers’ final home game.
Whether that additional foot traffic benefits local shops, though, is up in the air.
Mary Carbine, executive director for Madison Central Business Improvement District, says every home game brings big business to small shops in the State Street area.
“What is so much a part of the Badger game experience for many people is visiting State Street and the Capitol square,” Carbine said. “Badger athletics is terrific for downtown business and downtown shopping.”
The outlook is a little different several blocks away, on Monroe Street. Carol ‘Orange’ Schroeder, the owner of Orange Tree Imports, says she would prefer home games don’t fall on the same Saturday as the first big shopping weekend of the holiday season.
“It doesn’t hurt to have 75,000 people in the neighborhood, but they’re not here to shop – they’re here to cheer on the Badgers,” Schroeder says.
The biggest problem for Orange Tree Imports, according to Schroeder, isn’t a lack of traffic – it’s too much of it.
“For us, being so close to the stadium it means the customers who want to shop during the game have a hard time finding parking,” Schroeder says.
Whatever the circumstances outside, local shops are hoping their sales on this Small Business Saturday will get customers to go big or go home. The importance of the shopping weekend can’t be understated, both women say.
“What’s great about Small Business Saturday is it really lifts that profile for small businesses and helps people remember what an important part of the community they are,” Carbine says.
“We do 40 percent of our business in November and December, so certainly Thanksgiving weekend kicks it off,” Schroeder says.