Downtown Phoenix Block Party Celebrates Small Business Saturday

A block party full of vendors helped some small businesses and shoppers get a good start to the holiday shopping season

PHOENIX — The music, the dancing, and of course, the shopping. It was all part of what made the “Buy Local Block Party” in Downtown Phoenix so special on Saturday, Small Business Saturday to be exact.  

It’s a nationwide initiative to support local and independent businesses during the holiday season.  

“We are really essentially an incubator for Black-owned businesses,” said Ali Nervis, one of the founders of Archwood Exchange and the nonprofit ACRES, who put on the event. “We’re trying to create opportunity and trying to provide education and resources to help businesses who just want to grow to scale and entrepreneurs who just want to fulfill their dream.”  

“There are certain things that people that are creatives make and bring to the market, that’s missing in your average corporate, big brand, big box stores,” said Havana Dickerson, another small business owner, who’s also one of the founders of Archwood Exchange.  

“We have special types of jewelry,” she said. “And one of the vendors that I love, she creates these eucalyptus pods that you put in your shower and when you take a shower, it steams your whole shower up.”  

Organizers of the event planned it with hopes it would boost local entrepreneurs and act as a launch pad. 

“We want to support people who have these ideas and these inventions and bring them to the table,” said Dickerson. “And then we offer a space for them to test those ideas.”  

Small Business Saturday is also a time when local business owners like to offer deals. 

“We’re giving 30, 40, 50% off of some of our products,” said Nervis. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”  

Shoppers like Alison McAulay and Jeryse Kelly took advantage of the sales. 

“The first place that I stopped, because I just started, was Baby Boo’s coloring studio,” said Kelly. “They have coloring books and activity books for both kids and for adults.”  

“There’s a lot of original clothing, arts and crafts,” said McAulay. “I just bought a lovely snap wrap from this gorgeous woman behind me.” 

Consumers are expected to spend an estimated $125 billion at small businesses this holiday season, according to an Intuit QuickBooks report. That’s up 42% from $88 billion last year.  

The American Express 2023 Shop Small Impact Study shows 85% of consumers say they’re likely to shop “small” during the holiday season. 

The “Buy Local Block Party” marked the start of the holiday shopping season, a success.  

“Support your locals,” said McAulay. 

If you missed today’s event, Archwood Exchange holds events in Downtown Phoenix monthly.  

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