GREEN: A jam-packed weekend of shopping is upon us, but the most important day for many retailers could be Saturday, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Small retailers have teamed up for the third annual Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are urged to support local shops and entrepreneurs to stimulate their businesses in a win-win situation for the buyer and seller.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 to counter the excitement over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The credit-card company has hopes that this year’s total of small-business customers will exceed 100 million nationwide, delighting retailers and shoppers alike.
Many of the participants are offering specials for the day, while others support the call because small businesses mean so much to communities through charitable giving, jobs and benefits.
Lori Howerton, chief executive of the Green Chamber of Commerce, is a strong proponent of Small Business Saturday and shopping at local independents year-round because of the impact on the community.
“It is critical to the success of the economy,” Howerton said. “Small businesses represent a huge number of jobs, and if we don’t support them then we all lose.
“When you purchase something at a local store, the return to the community is much greater than when you purchase” at stores with outside ownership.
Among the Green businesses participating in Small Business Saturday, Howerton said, is Gallery 143 in the Green Plaza off Massillon and Steese roads. The shop is offering 20 percent off entire frame orders and has sale prices on some handcrafted and wall art as well.
My Sister’s Yarn Shop, next to the Bistro on Massillon Road, is taking 25 percent off scarf yarn as well as sock yarn, while Menches Bros. Restaurant & Pub on Massillon Road in the Shops of Green will be open for breakfast at 7 a.m. and will offer $25 in gift certificates for $20, Howerton said.
Robert Ball, manager of Henry B. Ball Jewelers on Dressler Road in Stark County’s Belden Village and Akron, commented:
“I am a big proponent of supporting local businesses. I try to shop where I live within the community. The trouble today ... it’s too easy to just get online and boom, but it doesn’t support the local community.
“We contribute to the local economy by [providing jobs and giving to] local charities, and we hope the public will, therefore, support those local businesses who contribute to the local charities, which the big stores with their out-of-town owners don’t do.”
At Another Look consignment shop on Fulton Drive Northwest in Jackson Township’s Cable Shores Shopping Center, owner Sue Knisley said the store is giving 20 percent off a customer’s entire purchase (except formal wear).
“I think it’s fabulous that we do have something for the local businesses,” Knisley said. “These are locally owned businesses whose owners live in the community and support the community with taxes. And we offer one-on-one service.”
Summit County’s Lit Wick Gallery on Ghent Road in Fairlawn’s Merchant Square Plaza across from Summit Mall will participate, featuring artwork by local artists and 10 percent off all candle purchases.
Owner-operator J.M. Tkalec said he prefers to stay local, “and I hear it from my customers on a daily basis. There are a lot of people wanting to stay local now. It’s very exciting.”
His customer base is local, but clients come from Cleveland and around the state regularly to see what is new since his products were selected Best in Cleveland by editors of Cleveland Magazine.
Christy Page, CEO and president of the six-county Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne counties said Tuesday that the BBB is teaming up with American Express, a BBB-accredited business partner. American Express credit-card users will receive a $25 credit when purchasing $25 in merchandise at stores registered with American Express.
At Twice as Nice Consignment on West Maple Street in Hartville, owner Rose Banner is offering 20 percent off everything in the store from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Edge Hair Design and Spa on Dressler Road Northwest in Belden Village is a small business participating in both Black Friday and Local Business Saturday by giving a $20 gift card free with every $100 of gift cards purchased and offering $56 “mani pedis” for just $40.
Owner Patti Chaney said, “We’ve participated in Black Friday for years, but this is the first time for Small Business Saturday. I personally love the whole concept of it and urge shoppers to visit small retailers throughout the community.”
There are many participants in Summit County, including the Don Drumm Studios & Gallery on Crouse Street, A White Pond Paradise Salon & Day Spa on White Pond Drive, Shulan’s Fairlawn Jewelers on West Market Street and Ken Stewart’s Grille on West Market Street.
George W. Davis can be reached at email@example.com.