MIAMI COUNTY — As shoppers across the county today seek out Black Friday deals, local store owners are looking forward to Small Business Saturday.
Small business owners hope that — before they turn to big chains or online stores — shoppers will consider keeping their money in Miami County.
“Typically small businesses are owned by your neighbors, by people in your community,” said Tanya Brown, owner of Living Simply Soap in Tipp City. “In my opinion, community is just so important. When small businesses thrive, your community thrives.”
American Express started the Small Business Saturday movement in 2010 and reported an estimated $14.3 billion spent at small, independent shops last year.
All over the county, local businesses and organizations are teaming up to promote the shopping event.
In Troy, the Chamber of Commerce and Troy Main Street are partnering to encourage shoppers to shop small and to shop local, Kathi Roetter, executive director of the chamber said.
“It’s important to support small businesses as they at the backbone of our local economy,” Roetter said. “Statistics show that 48 percent of each purchase at an independent local business is recirculated locally compared with only 14 percent from big box stores.”
The chamber and Troy Main Street are sponsoring a contest this year: Find the Small Business Elf.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the chamber will be giving clues on their social media pages to alert shoppers to where the Elf might be. The first shopper to find the Elf, will win a$20 Chamberbuck Gift Certificate. The Elf will moving about stores in Troy, so shoppers are encouraged to watch social media accounts throughout the day.
If shoppers are worried about missing the Ohio State football game Saturday, volunteers from the Connected Communities Initiative (America’s Best Communities Contest) will be airing the game at the Community Connections Center while handing out gifts.
Shops in Troy will also be handing out free “shop small goodies” to customers, Roetter said. Many will be offering specials or extended hours as well.
The Downtown Tipp City Partnership and the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce have also partnered to encourage shoppers to support small businesses. They will have a table outside the township building and will be passing out free tote bags to shoppers.
Hidden in eight of the bags will be a $25 gift card to a local business, including Urban Ava Boutique, Living Simply Soap, Sweet by Kristy, That Place on Main, Midwest Memories, Broadway Hair Salon, Studio 14, and Cairns Toys.
Many of the store downtown will have special sales for the day. At Living Simply Soap, they will be giving away “soap bucks.” Shoppers that spend $25 will receive $5 in soap bucks that can be used during the month of December.
Piqua businesses will be giving away free tote bags provided by American Express, and many will have sales and specials as well, said Lorna Swisher, Executive Director of Piqua Main Street.
At Readmore’s Hallmark, the first 50 shoppers on Saturday will receive stockings and a coupon valued at up to 40 percent off, as well as other free gifts, manager Mary Beth Barhorst said.
“You’ve got to support your local businesses to support your community,” Barhorst said, pointing out that small shops play an important role local life. “If people do all their shopping online, there won’t be any local businesses left.”
Laurie Reiser, owner of Winans Chocolates & Coffees, pointed out that shopping local not only keeps money in the community, but it can also promote Miami County products across the country when people ship gifts out of the area.
“It comes down to economics,” Reiser said. “Do you want to support some business with an office in California somewhere, or do you want to support your local shops?”