Small Business Saturday: Butler County owners, officials urge local support

John Ferrando works on glass ornaments with his daughters, Julianna, 7, Lilly, 8, Elizabeth, 8, and son, Aaron, 10, as he gets his shop, Haute Fusion Glass Studio and Gallery, on Central Avenue in Middletown ready Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 for small business Saturday. Haute Fusion is one of many businesses open in downtown Middletown on small business Saturday on Nov. 30. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
John Ferrando works on glass ornaments with his daughters, Julianna, 7, Lilly, 8, Elizabeth, 8, and son, Aaron, 10, as he gets his shop, Haute Fusion Glass Studio and Gallery, on Central Avenue in Middletown ready Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 for small business Saturday. Haute Fusion is one of many businesses open in downtown Middletown on small business Saturday on Nov. 30. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Three years ago, just days before Small Business Saturday, John Ferrando opened Haute Fusion Studio & Gallery on Central Avenue in Middletown.

Then last week, days before this year’s Small Business Saturday, Ferrando celebrated the expansion of his business at 1050 Central Ave. He has great timing and understands the importance of the shopping holiday aimed at encouraging consumers to patronize small or local businesses.

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Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to capitalize on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, Ferrando said.

“The community really comes out and shops,” he said. “It’s amazing that we get that level of support.”

Money generated on Small Business Saturday typically in funneled back into the local economy, he said. One study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of it stays within the local economy, compared to $43 for large businesses.

About 66.6 million shoppers are expected to head out today, shopping small, local businesses during the busiest shopping season of the year. That’s a slight decline from the 67.9 million shoppers who said they would shop on Small Business Saturday last year. More shoppers said they would shop on Thanksgiving and the following Sunday this year than last.

Rick Pearce, president of the Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, said supporting small businesses is important because those owners typically live locally and proceeds from their sales sometimes sponsor community events.

“All that money stays locally,” he said.

That’s not always the case with national chains, he said.

“The money goes back to the corporation and that investment may not make its way back to the community,” Pearce said.

Pearce said small business owners are also sponsoring children’s activities and donating to local nonprofits with the money made through holiday sales and throughout the year.

To encourage shoppers today, Ferrando is offering a buy-two-get-one-free workshop deal, and one free group workshop will be drawn.

The Hamilton area has the most robust Small Business Saturday offerings in southwest Ohio, the president of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce told Hamilton City Council as his organization received a proclamation celebrating the event.

“We’ve been told by American Express that we have the best Small Business Saturday in the region, based on engagement and involvement with the community,” said Dan Bates, president and CEO of the chamber. “We get major involvement from the community.”

For some shops and other businesses, that Saturday is the biggest sales day of the year. There will be online maps and fliers in stores, “so people know how to get from shop to shop,” Bates said.

Staff writer Mike Rutledge contributed to this report.