Alexandra Calderon

Del Rio Downtown Association Chair Alexandra Calderon shows off the Neighborhood Champion Certificate of Recognition awarded to the Del Rio Downtown Association in 2018 by American Express.

The Del Rio Downtown Association will host its annual Small Business Saturday event to celebrate and promote downtown businesses.

The Small Business Saturday Kickoff Breakfast and Popup Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at the South Main Street Pocket Park, 628 S. Main St.

Del Rio Downtown Association Chair Alexandra Calderon said the association teams up with American Express each year to hold the event.

“American Express founded Small Business Saturday to take place every year on the Saturday immediately after Black Friday, and its philosophy is to continue the holiday shopping of Black Friday, but with a focus on small businesses. Their hash tags are #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopSmall,” Calderon said.

She said an organization or business that wishes to hold a Small Business Saturday event in its town must apply through American Express to be recognized as an official Small Business Saturday site or event.

“So we team up with them, and there are criteria as to where you fall in, if you’re an organization, a business, or, like us, a downtown association, and they ask what you’re going to do and how you’re going to try and help small businesses. So the Del Rio Downtown Association applied because our mission is really the same: to promote small businesses, especially those in the downtown area,” she said.

American Express initiated the Small Business Saturdays in 2010, Calderon said, so 2019 will mark the company’s 10th year promoting the “shop small” concept in this way.

Once the company approves a particular group’s participation as an official purveyor of the event, it also sends promotional materials and giveaways, all in the event’s official colors of blue and white.

“They send canvas shopping bags with the “Shop Small” logo, pens, key chains, balloons and flags,” Calderon said.

Last year, American Express awarded the Del Rio Downtown Association with 2018 Neighborhood Champion Certificate of Recognition for the group’s “outstanding efforts on Small Business Saturday and their lasting contribution to the community and the Shop Small Movement.”

“Our neighborhood is downtown Del Rio,” Calderon said.

Calderon, who owns a small business downtown, said she reaches out personally to other small business owners in the area to make sure they are aware of the event and, if they can, to participate in some way.

“We want people to come out, walk around and get to know our downtown businesses,” Calderon said.

Last year, she said, between 100 to 150 people attended the event.

American Express has approved the association’s participation in the event again this year, and Calderon said she hopes to make Small Business Saturday better than it’s ever been.

“This year, we’re going to add some vendors, a limited number, because of the space available in the park, but we will have some vendors,” she said.

The Del Rio Downtown Association will have a welcome station, which will include the American Express giveaways, but which will also feature promotional items and information from downtown businesses.

“We’ve asked businesses to bring us anything they want to give out to people, flyers, posters or business cards. We’re also going to be raffling some items,” Calderon said.

A free pancake breakfast will be served at 10 a.m. with coffee, juice and milk and will be catered by the Whitehead Memorial Museum.

The Del Rio Downtown Association board currently includes Calderon, Claudia Lopez, Amanda Curtis and Carolina Buentello.

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