Shoppers go local on Small Business Saturday

Nov. 26—GOSHEN — Shopping small was on the minds of many in downtown Goshen Saturday as deal hunters turned out in droves to support their local merchants during the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping day known across the country as Small Business Saturday.

First conceived as a campaign by credit card company American Express in 2009 as a way to remind shoppers to show love and support for their small, local businesses, Small Business Saturday — part of the Shop Small Movement — officially launched in 2010 to great response.

Jump forward to today and Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition both locally and across the nation.

"You might not realize it, but every time you pick up a cup of coffee from your favorite neighborhood cafe or buy a gift from a local artist's online store, you're shopping small and making a difference," AMEX states on its SBS website. "Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition — just one part of the larger Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Because shopping at a family-owned framing spot or buying a handmade ring from your favorite online small business helps to promote more vibrant communities."

During this year's festivities, participating shops throughout downtown Goshen offered special sales, events and discounts to encourage customers to spend their dollars locally.

A sampling of the many downtown businesses participating in Saturday's event included: The Electric Brew, 118 E. Washington St.; Fables Books, 215 S. Main St.; Ten Thousand Villages, 206 S. Main St.; and Woldruff's Footwear & Apparel, 129/135 S. Main St.

LOCAL SUPPORT

Over at Woldruff's Footwear & Apparel, owner Tim Hethcote and his employees were keeping busy with a healthy crowd during Saturday's event.

"We're doing a 10% discount storewide, plus we have a lot of clearance items and sale items," Hethcote said of the store's event specials. "So, they get the sale items, plus an additional 10% on top of that.

"And sales are looking very good right now. We're doing excellent. No complaints," he added of the support he's received from the community. "And it's a tight job market. Pretty much it feels like everybody who wants a job has one, and it's great that we don't have huge unemployment here. So, I'm very pleased."

As for why he feels it's important for shoppers to support their local small businesses, Hethcote said supporting local businesses doesn't just benefit the businesses themselves, but the communities in which they are located as well.

"We continue to support other businesses, too, that are local here, by purchasing things that we need for the store," he said. "And it just helps keep the funds local. I mean, all my employees are right here in Goshen. So, everything kind of just gives right back into the community."

Emma Eitzen, store manager at nearby Ten Thousand Villages, offered a similar sentiment.

"Supporting small businesses helps support the local economy, which also then helps the community that we live in," Eitzen said. "And it also helps just those small businesses and entrepreneurs explore and entertain new ideas that they might have, whether it's in retail or any kind of department of work."

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.