Shop locally this holiday season

By Cecilia Fox -

MIAMI COUNTY — Didn’t get everything on your list during last weekend’s Holiday Welcome Weekend shopping event? Don’t worry — there’s another opportunity to score savings and freebies while supporting local businesses tomorrow.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to support local independent stores on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Since Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 as part of American Express’ Shop Small initiative, the event has grown more popular every year. According to American Express, it drew about 112 million shoppers — who spent a reported $15.4 billion — to local businesses across the country last year.

“It seems like Small Business Saturday has really grown over the last few years and I think more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to spend more time with their families after Thanksgiving and do some downtown shopping,” Mainstreet Piqua Execuive Director Lorna Swisher said.

On the biggest shopping weekends of the year, an estimated 164 million Americans plan to do at least a little holiday buying, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed are expected to shop on Saturday (about 71 million people) — 76 percent of that number specifically cited Small Business Saturday as their reason for going out.

It’s been a busy holiday shopping season already in Miami County, with events like the countywide Holiday Welcome Weekend and the Yuletide Winter’s Gathering in Tipp City held in the last few weeks.

According to Downtown Tipp City Director Heather Dorsten, Yuletide Winter’s Gathering was so busy this year, many local business owners reported record sales that weekend — something they’re looking to repeat with Small Business Saturday.

In partnership with local chambers of commerce and downtown organizations, businesses throughout the county will be offering special sales and promotions, extended hours, and even freebies and giveaways.

Downtown Tipp City and the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce partnered to buy $200 in gift cards for Saturday. Shoppers in Tipp City who pick up a Shop Small tote bag will have a chance to win one of eight $25 gift cards to a local business, Dorsten said.

In Troy, Small Business Saturday is part of a busy holiday weekend. After the monthly Friday Night Shop Hop and Saturday’s Grand Illumination, Small Business Saturday will present another opportunity to get out and enjoy downtown Troy, Troy Main Street Director Nicole Loy said.

“Troy has a smalltown feel, but the downtown area is pretty large,” she said. “You want to make sure you can get into those stores and see everything they have to offer.”

Shoppers in Troy should keep their eyes peeled for the Small Business Elf. If you spot him, you might win a prize, Loy said.

“It’s an opportunity to take advantage of more sales and have some fun while they’re at it,” she said.

Small Business Saturday also presents shoppers with an opportunity to find unique gifts for their friends and families, Loy said. Even if you’re not sure what to get someone on your list, you’re likely to find it in a local store, she added.

In Piqua, many local businesses will be handing out free tote bags to shoppers, Swisher said. She encouraged shoppers to remember those businesses who support local events, fundraisers and sports teams throughout the year.

According to the U.S. Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy, there are more than 900,000 small businesses in operation across the state of Ohio — about 99.6 percent of all Ohio businesses.

Visit to find a list of participating businesses in your community, and check the websites and social media pages of area shops and restaurants to find out more about deals and sales.

By Cecilia Fox

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