Shoppers come out for Small Business Saturday

November 27, 2018

Downtown Columbus was flooded with shoppers over the weekend, marking the start of this year’s holiday shopping season.

On Saturday, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Columbus Holiday Giveaway in Frankfort Square. Columbus Bucks were sold at a special offer, $10 worth of bucks free with every $100 sold, up to $500 per person.

Columbus Bucks are accepted at numerous local chamber affiliated businesses, and Chamber President K.C. Belitz estimated about $55,000 worth were sold last weekend, with the official kickoff during Small Business Saturday morning.

“I always feel really good about having that kind of tangible impact,” Belitz said about the promotion. “That retail division of our membership is a significant chunk of our membership, so we’re certainly pleased to be able to support them.”

Artzy Haven, 1354 27th Ave. #109, was one of many downtown businesses shoppers visited over the holiday weekend. Store Manager Rachel Lade said about 25 percent of shoppers on Saturday used Columbus Bucks. She said it was just as busy this year at the scrapbook and gift store as the year before.

“It was pretty steady throughout the day,” Lade said. “We got a few of our regulars in, so that was good.”

Dick Tooley, one of the owners of Tooley Drug Company, 2615 13th St., said Saturday was a good day for the business. He attributed the success in part to the Columbus Bucks special.

“It was very successful,” Tooley said. “Columbus Bucks were big in helping.”

Belitz said he anticipated this year’s holiday shopping season to go well, but not as strong as in past years.

“Good, because our unemployment is low and our industrial community is doing well,” Belitz said. “It won’t be great because of the price of corn, the price of soybeans, commodities are not good. And we all know darn well that how agriculture goes has a huge impact on Main Street.”

Tooley said he agreed with Belitz’s sentiment.

“I think the farm economy is always huge for the economy of Columbus and the state,” Tooley said. “ So when it prospers, we prosper. When it’s not as good, we suffer also, we feel the effect.”

When the price of agriculture products do go up, Belitz anticipates an increase in local business as well.

“(When the) price of corn goes up, then we’ll have more money. There’s always a direct correlation,” Belitz said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter with the Columbus Telegram. Reach him a via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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