Small Business Saturday hopes to keep gift-giving local

Small businesses look to attract shoppers today after days of big box shopping

Shoppers landed good deals on Black Friday on mostly tech items, but local business owners hope they’ll be back today on Small Business Saturday for more unique items.

“This market is really heavily small business, and so it’s important that we continue to support the shopping weekend that usually is kind of overtaken by the big guy,” said Holly Allen of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

An estimated 116 million people in the United States were expected shop online and in stores on Black Friday, but traffic around Dayton-area shopping centers was slow compared to what shoppers said they were used to. Some pointed to stores moving up sales earlier and increased online shopping habits.

“It’s not nearly as chaotic as I thought it would be,” said Darin Lunt of Springboro. “I think it’s spread out more, you know. People were here yesterday.”

Lunt estimated he saved at least $600 on the three laptops and television he purchased at Best Buy. He said he was surprised to have gotten everything on his wish list after only waiting in line ten minutes.

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Best Buy, Menard’s and Cabela’s were among the few retailers with long lines Friday morning, but even those lines didn’t grow as early as in previous years. Nearly 400 shoppers waited for the Centerville Cabella’s doors to open at 5 a.m. Friday.

“Last year I got here about 3 a.m. and (the line) was all the way wrapped around the building,” said Wyatt Woodfin of Kettering, who got in line at midnight. “So I said, ‘I’m not doing that this year. I’m going to get here early.’”

This year, the line didn’t start wrapping the building until about 4:30 a.m.

Though Friday traffic was slower, U.S. shoppers are expected to spend about 5 percent more this year during the holiday season than last, totaling up to $720 billion. The average shopper is expected to spend more than $1,007 during the holiday season. As part of the five-day shopping weekend, 67 million shoppers are expected to shop Small Business Saturday deals today.

“I’ve done Small Business Saturday every year. I really think it helps,” said Jessica Dingman, who was shopping at Cabela’s early Friday morning. “I like coming to a big retail place like this for a good deal, this is 50 percent off, but I think shopping small is really important.”

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 Small businesses have a more direct impact on the community, Allen said.

“Most of them who are small business owners are invested in the neighborhood because they know their community, that’s the makeup of their customers, and so they are supportive of community initiatives. And so some of the money that’s going in to the businesses is usually reinvested in the community,” Allen said.

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Centerville’s Zig Zag gallery is one of the local independent businesses open for Small Business Saturday. Owner Kim Megginson said traffic significantly increase as awareness is raised of the independent businesses today.

“An added benefit of supporting a business like ours, we are certainly a local, independent, small business, but the work that we carry in here is done by artists and studios across the country, most of which are very small businesses… So when you’re supporting us, not only are you supporting our local independent here, but you’re supporting just numerous small businesses across the country,” Megginson said.

Dingman said she most looks forward to the unique products she can find at small businesses for her daughters.

“By shopping locallyyou’re supporting your neighborsbecause your neighbors are the ones who are working at those small businesses,” said Andy Patterson, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business.

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• Store hours: Here’s when retailers will open for Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales

• Here are major Black Friday deals you can get right now

• Here are the best Black Friday deals in the Dayton area

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