Small Business Saturday looks to succeed in Butler County

Brian LeVick, owner of Future Great Comics in Hamilton, said he has hosted events like a recent dog adoption in order to attract more customers.

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Brian LeVick, owner of Future Great Comics in Hamilton, said he has hosted events like a recent dog adoption in order to attract more customers.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was started seven years ago to entice holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

The event was started by American Express and promoted by local chambers of commerce to help small businesses get their cash registers ringing during the holidays.

There are 23 million small businesses in the United States that have created 8 million jobs since 1990. They make up approximately 40 percent of all American retail jobs, according to the U.S Small Business Administration.

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Sandra Guile of the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau said local economies and small businesses thrive because of the revenue made during Small Business Saturday as “48 percent of the of the cost of those unique, handmade pieces bought during this event come back to the community through taxes, payroll, and expenditures.”

Last year, 112 million people spent an estimated $15.4 billion at small retail establishments, according to a Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

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The Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton President and CEO Rick Pearce said Saturday is critical for small business owners because it creates the opportunity to build a network of customers that can last well into the future.

“A lot of these small businesses have started because the people running them are passionate about what they are selling and they need potential customers to come in and see what they have to offer,” Pearce said. “They are dependent upon local people coming in and buying from them because when they find what they like then they will go tell others about their positive shopping experience and the word will spread.”

Kert Radel, president and CEO of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Pearce and added all of the data and statistics say that shopping and buying local is crucial to helping local businesses survive.

“This is a day when people can discover what a small business has to offer,” Radel said. “Whether spending at a small or larger business shop local as much as you can.”

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Lauren Gersbach of Hamilton’s Small Business Development Office said because Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s perfectly timed to bring attention to small businesses while people are kicking off their holiday shopping.

“It’s a day to remind people to shop local and shop small, and to celebrate and support the many businesses that make our community unique,” Gersbach said.

Future Great Comics opened in October of 2016 at 528 Main St. in Hamilton. Owner Brian LeVick said getting past the one-year mark has given the business a boost in confidence and he is hoping to see a large turnout on Saturday to keep the momentum going.

“It really is nice to see so many people in the store and feel appreciated by the city,” LeVick said this week as several customers lined the inside of the store while live music was being performed outside. “I wanted to open this store to be a part of the city’s revitalization and business has started to pick up.”

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LeVick has tried to make the store “more than just a comic book store,” as Future Great Comics has played host to a wedding, pet adoption event and birthday parties.

Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller called the business “something very positive for the city,” as he strolled in to visit during the pet adoption event.

Designer Items and More in West Chester, 8919 Brookside Ave., is a designer boutique featuring women’s clothes, shoes, handbags and giftables.

“We host themed open houses, ‘Sip and Shops’ and fundraisers in addition to one-on-one shopping,” owner Felisa Insignare said. “These events allow us to build a community and be part of shaping the personality of our Olde West Chester neighborhood, which is warm, welcoming and quite charming.”

Insignare said this Saturday is very important for the small business owner, but getting support throughout the year is crucial.

“We love that Small Business Saturday is being celebrated and we encourage our community to continue celebrating and not limit it to just one day alone,” she said.

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Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, at 1212 Central Ave. in Middletown, has a selection of fresh, homemade doughnuts alongside its candy, old-fashioned glass bottled sodas and ice cream.

The store was founded by Christopher Beers in Pittsburgh, and has locations in Pennsylvania. Tiffany Kelly, who co-owns the Middletown store with her husband Bill, opened the first Ohio location with Beers back in April when a space in downtown Miamisburg became available.

Tiffany said she and her husband are looking forward to Saturday and so far have felt very welcomed by the Middletown community.

“Business has been going very well since we opened a few weeks ago and we are definitely doing something special for our customers this Saturday,” said Tiffany, who added the store will open at 6 a.m. and will have some giveaways during the day.

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Sara Vallandingham, owner of Sara’s House, a home decor, gifts, repurposed furniture and lamp store, has been up and running in downtown Hamilton for nearly three years.

“For a small business it can be the most important day of the year,” Vallandingham, who was selected this year as the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Person of the Year, said. “It is a huge boost and it is encouraging beyond just financial. When you see the loyalty it is so encouraging and to see people go the extra mile to be supportive is something special. It creates momentum for the rest of the year.”


BY THE NUMBERS

There are 23 million small businesses in the United States that have created 8 million jobs since 1990. They make up approximately 40 percent of all American retail jobs.

Last year, 112 million people spent an estimated $15.4 billion at small retail establishments, according to a Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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