SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — From yoga studios and boutiques to salons and restaurants, a nationwide movement aims to illuminate the challenges and opportunities small business owners face.

Founded by American Express, Small Business Saturday was created in 2009 to inspire people to take notice and shop small to support their communities.

And stemming from this movement, a local coastal city designed their own way to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

In conjunction with Small Business Saturday, the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce will launch its ninth annual Shop the Island event this weekend.

How to participate

Anyone that shops at any business on the Island between November 30 through December 18 and spends $20 or more is able to enter to win a $500 shopping spree on the Island.

Shoppers will be able to drop off their original receipts and collect entry forms at eight locations on the Island.

Several small businesses on the Island donated $20 to $25 gift certificates to be part of the grand prize shopping spree for consumers.

Starting at 11 a.m., the drawing will be held December 20 at the SPI Visitors Center located at 610 Padre Boulevard.

Participants do not need to be present at the drawing to win.

Local impact

Created in 2010, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Roxanne Ray said Shop the Island was established to encourage people to shop on the Island.

“ The shopping environment on the Island is unique,” Ray said. “We have shops and products for sale that people aren’t going to find anywhere away from the beach so people are able to find unique gifts, items and clothing.”

According to Ray, months such as November and December can sometimes be slower tourism periods for the Island.

“ People come to visit and they can find a place to stay, but they also need some place to shop so we need to keep these businesses alive during slow months,” she explained. “Like any other community, we’re trying to support our retail businesses and other small businesses and that’s what we’re here for.”

Last year’s Shop the Island event received close to 1,000 entries and $73,534 in receipts.

According to Ray, the event has continued to gain momentum each year.

“ That’s very exciting for us and it’s a good number especially when you consider that not everyone takes the time to register all of their receipts,” Ray said. “Certainly, the dollar amount and the number of entries have grown over nine years.”

Nation-wide impact

According to Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, a Small Business Saturday spokesperson and founder of Retail Minded, more than $100 billion has been spent at independent businesses since Small Business Saturday was introduced in 2009.

“ American Express was inspired by one very simple thing, which is to increase customer retention for independent businesses,” Leinbach-Reyhle said. “They wanted to make sure small businesses across the country were gaining more visibility from consumers during what is traditionally a very busy time of year to shop.”

According to Leinbach-Reyhle, on average 67 percent of every dollar that a consumer spends at a small business stays within their local economy.

“ More importantly, for customers who are aware of the value of that dollar spent within their local economy, 75 percent are more likely to shop small,” Leinbach-Reyhle. “So it’s really important for customers to recognize the value of how they spend their dollars and how that directly impacts their local community.”


WHAT — Shop the Island
WHEN — Saturday, Nov. 30 through Wednesday, Dec. 18
WHERE — South Padre Island
RECEIPT DROP LOCATIONS — Cactus Flower, Paragraphs, S.O.S. Services, Ship Shape, Sisters Interiors, SPI Birding, Nature and Alligator Sanctuary, SPI Chamber of Commerce and Yummies Bistro
DRAWING — Friday, December 20 starting at 11 a.m. at the SPI Visitors Center, 610 Padre Boulevard