(This story originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer)
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and small businesses across the Philadelphia region are getting ready. Why? Because according to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend almost $32 billion on Mother’s Day this year — an average of about $246 a person.
That’s a lot of love for mom — and it’s also a lot of money up for grabs, which means a potentially big revenue boost for small businesses still recovering from the pandemic. How are some businesses preparing?
Sherry Tillman, who owns Past Present Future, a gift store in Ardmore, said she’d be doing a “spin-the-wheel” promotion in-house that will offer discounts of up to 20% for future purchases and expects business to be brisk.
“Mother’s day always brings good sales as people love to treat their mothers with something beautiful,” she said. Although challenged by rising prices and some supply chain issues, Tillman is still ready for demand. “Even taking those factors into consideration, our store is still filled to the brim as we find new and wonderful artists to support and new fun things to sell.”
Other retailers are also taking advantage of the day.
The luxury fashion store Joan Shepp in Center City will hold a weeklong trunk show event, featuring items from local designer John Wind. The store will also provide a Mother’s Day brunch, bites, and mimosas in their garden.
“Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate love, family, and the women in our lives,” said store owner Gina Castanzo. “We take every opportunity we can to celebrate all the ‘mothers’ in our lives.”
At the Bourse in Philadelphia, more than 30 vendors will be gathering on Saturday and Sunday to sell their products for last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers as part of the Art Star Mother’s Day Market. The market will include pottery, jewelry, clothing, art prints, baby/kid toys and clothes, candles, soap, dolls, bags, wreaths, stickers, pins, and other items handmade by local crafters — there will even be craft cocktails available to make the day even more enjoyable.
One small business participating in the market will be the Vellum Street Soap Co., a maker of soaps, balms, and lotions based in the Wissahickon Valley.
“We have participated in the Art Star Mother’s Day Market for as long as we have been in business, and are incredibly thankful for it,” said Melissa Torre, the store’s owner. “Craft and art markets are a big part of our business model, so any holiday where you have a large percentage of the population shopping for gifts is great. This time of year, online sales slow down significantly, so in-person pop up markets like ones you’ll see for Mother’s Day are a great option for us.”
Mother’s Day has always been a big day for restaurants, and this year should be no different. According to a recent survey from the National Restaurant Association, about 27% of respondents said they planned to take their mother out for a celebratory meal this weekend, with lunch being the most popular choice.
For Philadelphia restaurants, struggling with supply chain and labor issues compounded by the city’s COVID extended mandates and restrictions, which recently ended, Mother’s Day should provide a much-needed boost to revenues. Center City’s Cuba Libre is one of those establishments.
“Mother’s Day is one of the industry’s busiest days each year,” said Barry Gutini, the restaurant’s cofounder. “But we are not immune to the acute labor shortage in our industry, which has forced us to modify offerings and hours for the holiday at some of our restaurants.”
Cuba Libre is having a special Mother’s Day menu at both Philly and Atlantic City locations: Mothers will be handed a rose during their visit and treated to a $25 gift certificate.
Matthew Shay, the president of the National Restaurant Association, said that there is a lot of consumer optimism around Mother’s Day this year as more people are getting vaccinated and stimulus checks are being distributed.
“For many, this is a chance to make up for last year’s Mother’s Day, when we were under lockdown,” he said. “With safety guidelines at top of mind, consumers are planning to be with family, are making travel plans, and organizing a special brunch or outing. All of these activities will be reflected through their purchasing decisions.”
Mother’s Day promotions aren’t limited just just to retailers and restaurants. Some service businesses are offering special promotions — and others are using the occasion to spread awareness for their particular causes. Such as cannabis.
At Philadelphia’s Black Dragon Breakfast Club, lifestyle brand and creative marketing agency whose mission is to “change the perception of ouid (cannabis) through disruptive marketing practices, community outreach, and engagement advocacy,” owner Tsehaitu Abye is offering its professional services to working mothers in the cannabis industry at a special discount on all services and CBD accessories including their “cannabis affirmation cards” and gift boxes.
“Some family members, partners and husbands shy away from cannabis-related gifts for the mothers in their lives because of bad perceptions or fear judgment,” Abye said. “We believe Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to enlighten and educate mothers about their wellness through the benefit of plant medicine.”