Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29

Shop small after Black Friday, help aid economic growth in Indy
By Melissa Brummett

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Illustration by Dylan Lee Hodges.

Many college students flock to Black Friday sales and fight the crowds every November in hopes to get good deals and save money on Christmas presents. 

But between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another day of remarkable deals geared toward helping local businesses – Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express in 2010. Its goal was to create a day similar to Black Friday to help small and local businesses attain recognition.

Last year, American Express published research indicating Small Business Saturday earned $5.7 billion in sales across the country in 2013.

Since its start, Small Business Saturday has been successful and helped many local businesses in the Indianapolis area and has helped economic growth in the city.

Kathleen Angelone is the owner of Bookmamas, a bookstore tucked in the Irvington neighborhood. She said there are many economic benefits to Small Business Saturday.

“Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop in local, independent stores,” Angelone said. “This benefits Indianapolis by helping us stay in business. For every $100 spent in a local, independent business, $68 remains in the community compared to $42 for chain stores. Therefore, patrons of local businesses help pay local salaries, contribute to local causes and help improve neighborhoods.” (Statistics are backed by research from Civic Economics)

Many other local Indianapolis merchants agree with Angelone’s sentiment.
Brandi Rice, the owner of Lucky B Boutique located in Broad Ripple, said, “The money spent at a small, locally-owned business stays local and helps build the community our customers live and work in.”

IUPUI alumna Athena Chaillaux, the owner of Athena’s Fashion Boutique located in the Fountain Square neighborhood, said the money shoppers spend in local stores goes back into our local economy.

Photography by Melissa Brummett.

“Merchants will put the money right back into Indy,” Chaillaux said. “It is coming into the local stores and going right back out as opposed to shopping at giant retailers.”

Amanda Taflinger, co-owner of Homespun a homemade boutique located on the prestigious Mass Ave, said both small and large retailers benefit the economy, but Small Business Saturday helps bring the names of local shops to the public to make a lasting impression.

“Every town may have a Target, a Wal-Mart, etc.,” Taflinger said, “but these aren’t what business residents tell others about with delight. When friends and family visit, (Indianapolis residents) will take them to restaurants and shops on Mass Ave, in Broad Ripple, in Fountain Square, in Fletcher Place and in Irvington. They will take them to places they know they haven’t been anywhere else. Small Business Saturday helps get more of those small businesses in front of the community — helps keep their business names fresh and relevant in their minds.”

Independent retailers are already preparing for this year’s holiday shopping season.

Athena’s will have Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals this year. Chaillaux said she will have a 50 percent off rack and 50 percent off discounts on jewelry.

“If something [in my store] is to my liking, it is usually a pretty good deal,” Chaillaux said.

Lucky B will have a buy one, get one 50 percent off deal on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Rice said she will open her boutique at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and stay open until 7 or 8 p.m.

Bookmamas will open at 9 a.m. on Small Business Saturday and Angelone said the first 25 patrons who make a purchase will receive a special favor. Bookmamas will also feature two local authors Sherri Wood Emmons and Ian Wollen for book signings.

Homespun will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Small Business Saturday. Amanda Taflinger, who co-owns Homespun with her husband, said the store occasionally sends coupons to customers who have signed up for their mailing list, and they have giveaways through Homespun’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Small Business Saturday has been successful for independent, local merchants in Indy and continues to increase in its prosperity each year.

This year American Express is taking Small Business Saturday one step further and partnering with Etsy.com to encourage independent retailers to bring in local artists and have them sell some of their regular products in t
he store for the holiday season.

“It is extending beyond the small brick and mortar business to small businesses run from homes,” Taflinger said.

Taflinger is using that partnership and said Homespun will have local jewlery artist Moria K. Lime in the store on Small Business Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

While shopping on Small Business Saturday helps independent merchants, local communities and now home businesses, Angelone hopes people will continue to shop small and not just on one day of the year.

“I hope that people who support local, independent business on Small Business Saturday also support those businesses throughout the year,” Angelone said.

“[Small Business Saturday] is a great promotion to keep the small businesses that add unique character to our city alive,” Taflinger said.