Shopping small a big deal for area businesses

November 25, 2018
Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Linda Sturm, left, purchases a mug from Michelle Horan of Hearth Obscura Charmworks on Small Business Saturday at the Visitor Center in Heritage Station on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON - Sonia Chambers, of Huntington, says shopping local on Small Business Saturday has become a family tradition since it started in 2010.

“We have family in from out of town and out of the country, so we are making the rounds today at as many small businesses in the area that we can,” she said Saturday.

Chambers said she and her family started at Sip Wine and Whiskey Bar for brunch before hitting the other shops located in Heritage Station.

“Huntington has such wonderful local businesses and restaurants, and it’s so important that we support them,” Chambers said. “Without community support, these businesses would not be here.”

Despite the rainy and chilly conditions, many folks were spotted shopping and eating at many of the downtown small businesses.

“I love shopping on Small Business Saturday, so a little rain isn’t going to stop me” said Mary Johnson, of Huntington, who was coming out of Glenn’s Sporting Goods in the 1000 block of 3rd Avenue. “I want to support as many of the small businesses in my community as I can.”

The Red Caboose at Heritage Station kicked off its holiday shopping season with its Small Business Saturday Artisan Market.

“We are having our Artisan Market and several big sales here,” said Raine Klover, manager of The Red Caboose.

The Red Caboose is one of Huntington’s premier artisan centers and gift shops that specialize in locally made artisan goods. At the event, shoppers were able to meet local artisans, enter to win handcrafted prizes, and shop for local-interest books, specialty food items, home goods and one-of-a-kind works of art.

“We have had lots of people coming in, and it’s been a great morning so far,” Klover said. “Buying from a local artist is an amazing thing for both the customer and for the artist.”

In addition to Red Caboose, shoppers could be seen at Heritage Station looking for handmade pottery and other artisan gifts at Full Circle Ceramic, while Tony the Tailor offered luxury and custom menswear and Birds of a Feather, a women’s boutique, was offering special deals. Others took advantage of the many food options for Small Business Saturday at places like Moonlight Cookies and The Market.

Small Business Saturday began to help the American consumer “connect the dots” between their purchases and the well-being of their community. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of small businesses, and the event falls on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.

“Communities are made special and unique by small businesses,” said Debra Martin, West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) interim director. “As a consumer, you’re a key part in helping small businesses thrive.”

Martin says small businesses contribute to the economic vitality of their local communities.

“In West Virginia, 98 percent of the businesses in the state are small,” she said. “These small businesses employ nearly 50 percent of the state’s private workforce.”

For some small retail businesses, the November and December holiday season account for as much as 30 percent of their annual sales, Martin added.

“Shopping local keeps more dollars in the community,” Martin said. “Out of $100, for example, roughly $68 remains local when spent with a small local business, compared to only $48 when spent with a national chain.”

Huntington area shoppers were encouraged to share their small-business shopping experiences on social media by using the #ShopSmall and #MyHuntington hashtags to showcase the Huntington business community.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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