YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Small-business owners are your friends, neighbors and family members. To support them, events and promotions will take place throughout the region on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25.
Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday takes place each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since its inception, cumulative consumer spending is estimated at $184 billion.
Big Day in Sharon
Sharon, Pa., has scheduled a full slate of activities that day.
“We’ve always done it big here,” says Courtney Cilli, Sharon downtown events coordinator.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., city shops and restaurants will host holiday sales. At 10:30 a.m., a ribbon will be cut at the green to start the holiday festivities.
An artisan market will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and characters including elves and others will stroll the city streets from noon to 4 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the holiday entertainment kicks off with Santa Claus arriving on a fire truck to light the holiday tree, followed by Magic of Christmas fireworks. The fireworks are presented by US Asset Management.
The event draws folks from Sharon and neighboring communities and it’s well attended, Cilli says.
“I think mainly [it’s] because we have an extremely walkable downtown,” she says. “We have a ton of shops in the area, a lot of businesses, and one of our focuses is supporting the businesses that are here.”
The artisan market will feature about 30 vendors. The market, inside the former Army Navy store at 47 E. State St., has proven to be a popular stop during the day’s events.
“Last year, almost all of the vendors sold out,” Cilli says.
Thyme in Your Kitchen and AEtheric Alchemy/The Emerald Tablet, both on East State Street, are two of the Sharon businesses that will participate in Small Business Saturday.
Thyme in Your Kitchen is a culinary boutique that sells cookware, bakeware, kitchen accessories and gifts. The shop also offers cooking classes.
“We are open extended hours,” says chef Garron Birdsall, adding that the store sometimes offers specials on a particular cookware for Small Business Saturday. “It’s one of the busiest days of our whole year.”
He says a lot of people are very conscious about supporting local businesses.
“You’ll see a lot of people that you know,” Birdsall says.
AEtheric Alchemy/The Emerald Tablet is an alternative and holistic health store with a large selection of teas and essential oils. It also sells jewelry, crystals and other items.
“Small Business Saturday is usually just about our best day here,” says owner Odin Smith. “It and Waterfire are usually neck and neck.”
Smith plans giveaways, door prizes and a gift basket drawing. Customers who spend at least $50 will get to spin a wheel to win a prize.
In Trumbull County, the annual Gingerbread Walk Small Shops Cortland will begin festivities in that city, starting at 10 a.m.
Traci Cooper of Cooper Cycle and Fitness says 10 businesses are involved in the event, which will feature horse-drawn carriage rides by CaRayna Farms, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and specials, giveaways and vendors.
The businesses worked together to pay for the horse and carriage so shoppers will be able to ride for free.
“They’ll bring people from business to business,” Cooper says.
Besides Cooper Cycle and Fitness, the other businesses participating in the event are Cortland Mattress & More, Centerra, Stanley Grace, Totally Dog, Furniture Decor and More, Cortland Nutrition, I Want That, Mr. Hero and Cortland Main Street Coffee.
“We’re hoping it helps small businesses,” says Cooper.
The annual Gingerbread Walk started in the city several years ago but stalled because of Covid. This year, organizers are working to revive it.
“I think it’s important that small businesses are recognized just as much as the larger ones,” Cooper says. “We are the heart of this country.”
Vicki McGee, owner of Simply Scarves…And Such, agrees.
“For small businesses, it’s bigger than Black Friday,” she says.
McGee has stores in Salem, Columbiana, Austintown and Minerva.
“I’ll be offering small Small Business Saturday specials,” she says.
At the Columbiana and Minerva stores, leggings will be three for $10 while supplies last.
McGee designs the leggings with the private label, Simply…Sassy.
Robes and nightshirts will be on sale for 25% off at all stores.
“We’ll also have licensed sports signs on sale for 50% off” at all stores, McGee says.
The store has Ohio State University, Cleveland and Pittsburgh signs.
She’ll also be doing some giveaways on social media and she’s working on a “favorite things” feature, modeled after Oprah Winfrey’s famous holiday highlight. McGee and store employees will select their favorite things in the store.
Ivory & Birch Boutique at 7632 Market St., Boardman, expects to see a lot of shoppers for Small Business Saturday.
“It’s definitely the busiest day of the year,” says Amber Avnet, store manager.
Both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday draw many customers into the boutique.
Cuddly blankets will be on sale and the store has holiday ornaments, earrings with holiday themes and stocking stuffers for those looking for unusual gifts.
The store kicks off the holiday season with Pink Friday on Nov. 17.
“We’ll have swag bags and giveaways that day,” Avnet says.
During the week of Small Business Saturday, Ivory & Birch will have in-store specials and other items that will be on sale online only on Thanksgiving.
Several downtown Columbiana businesses plan sales for Small Business Saturday, says Dani Edgerton, president of the Columbiana Chamber of Commerce, and the owner of Paws on Main.
Besides Edgerton’s store, other participating Columbiana businesses are Legacy Furniture, Cherokee
Child, Columbiana Nutrition, Local Artisans Loft, Natural Blessings, Madison Corner, the Rustic Birdcage, Park Avenue Marketplace, White Owl Mercantile, Silver Sage Furnishings, Cluttered Corner, Carla’s Corner
Cafe, Main Street Shop and Generations Coffee Shop. Others may sign on as well.
Paws on Main, at 112 S. Main St., sells pet items ranging from treats, toys and bakery items to services such as grooming, self-serve dog wash and training.
For Small Business Saturday, the store will include a treat bag with each purchase. Through December, shoppers can fill the bag with treats for their pups.
“We’ll have a major storewide sale as well,” Edgerton says.
More Foot Traffic
Charm House Decor, a home decor and furniture store, moved to 430 Boardman-Poland Road in Boardman, across from the Shops at Boardman Park, in July from downtown Salem, where it had been for seven years.
“I’m from Youngstown and I always wanted to be back up there,” says owner Brittany O’Malley, adding that the store did well in Salem.
Charm House Decor will be open extended hours on Small Business Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“The whole shop will be 20% off and we’ll have a free gift with purchase
that day,” O’Malley says.
She’s expecting more foot traffic being in the heart of Mahoning County’s shopping area.
Cilli, Sharon’s downtown events coordinator, says the activities usually draw big crowds with 2022 seeing the most participants.
“I think everybody just loves the idea of Small Business Saturday and just supporting as many local businesses in a day as you can,” she says.
Pictured at top: Garron Birdsall, chef at Thyme in Your Kitchen, 79 E. State St., Sharon, shows some of the bakeware, cookware and kitchen accessories available at the culinary boutique. The shop will have extended hours Nov. 25 and some specials.