An Oregon District store sells hand-made hats people can’t get at Walmart. The Recline and Rest furniture store in Beavercreek sells pieces shoppers won’t find in Macy’s.
These are the type of small businesses area business groups are pushing shoppers to turn to Saturday to help support the local economy.
Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide. It falls right after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and started back in 2010. According to American Express, 95 million people shopped at small businesses last year on Small Business Saturday.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales — and they also provide 55 percent of all jobs.
The Downtown Dayton Partnership and small business owners are encouraging consumers to visit local stores. In downtown Dayton, about 80 new businesses have opened or signed a lease downtown since 2015, and more than 100 new start-ups have launched since the start of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan in 2011.
The 2nd Street Market, located at 600 E. Second St., is home to more than 40 small business vendors and they hope to draw crowds in this weekend.
“Convenient hours and a variety of products are important to our customers, as is supporting small businesses,” said Jimmy Harless, manager of the market. “By choosing to ‘shop small’ and patronizing one of the market’s vendors or other small businesses downtown, shoppers are choosing to invest in Dayton.”
Kelly Sexton, director of programs and education at K12 & Tejas, said her gallery will feature gift bags and paint buckets containing gift cards, paint supplies and other goodies, mosaic lanterns and other handmade gifts in its gift shop.
“If people are shopping local, it supports our community as a whole,” Sexton said.
Businesses in the Oregon District are coming out in full force for Small Business Saturday. Stamp cards will be available at participating retailers for entry to win one of four weekly drawings for $200, or the grand prize of a $1,000 shopping spree on New Year’s Eve.
Amelia O’Dowd, owner of Brim, said businesses in the Oregon District have gifts that are unusual, thoughtfully curated and crafted with a certain beauty that can’t be found at a chain retailer. At Brim, a hats and accessories shop, the owners specialize in “American-made” and “high quality goods,” she said,
“The other thing that’s important to know is that the money spent at small businesses goes back into the community at a higher rate,” she said. “Small Business Saturday is a great way to find out the great things this city has to offer.”
Other communities in the Miami Valley are also taking part in the event. Yellow Springs, which is home to more than 60 locally owned businesses, offered an alternative to the busy crowds on Black Friday. Horse-drawn wagon rides paraded through town at noon, and the stores planned to open back up for Small Business Saturday.
In Beavercreek, merchants on Dayton-Xenia Road will have a #ShopTheDXRD scavenger hunt. Shoppers will start at Beavercreek Pizza Dive at 10 a.m., where they can pick up a scavenger hunt instruction sheet and sample different types of pizza.
The first 50 to check in get a free pizza certificate and a Small Business Saturday tote, said Teresa Geraci, owner of Beavercreek Pizza Dive. The scavenger hunt grand prize is a basket with freebies valued at more than $400 from participating merchants.
According to the National Retail Federation, a substantial 47 percent of consumers are expected to shop on Saturday. Of those shoppers, 24 percent say they will be doing so specifically to support Small Business Saturday — up from 22 percent last year. On Sunday, 24 percent expect to shop.
Kelly Sullivan owns Recline and Rest, a furniture company in Beavercreek. He said the business will remain open throughout the weekend to bring in customers for holiday sales.
“We are lucky to have a lot of great small businesses in Beavercreek,” said said Dawn Mader, operations manager for the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce. “When people shop small businesses and support Chamber members, their money stays local and helps create jobs in the community.”
The push to get shoppers in the door earlier before Black Friday is actually beneficial for small businesses too, Sullivan said.
“I think it’s good for everybody in retail,” he said. “It gets people excited. I think trying to compress everything into one day, then there’s not enough love to go around to all the businesses.”
The 600,000-plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40 percent of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people. Sullivan said he’s noticed Small Business Saturday has been promoted and welcomed more this year. He hopes the momentum will continue.
“We can’t just tell people to shop certain places. It has to benefit them in some kind of way,” he said. “What we can give you is better service. Small businesses are involved in the community and they can offer a lot better customer service.”
Staff writer Amelia Robinson contributed to this report.
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