Shoppers shift focus from big chains to small businesses

The Downtown Improvement District's Holly Trolley will run Saturday, connecting small shops and restaurants.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Shoppers moved from Black Friday to Small Business Saturday. Customers across the country shifted their focus to local stores, including many in Fort Wayne.

“I think Small Business Saturday is great. It recognizes all the businesses like us that are a small business that are a part of the community,” small business owner, Sara Keltsch, said.

Sara Keltsch owns the Monogram Shoppe in Covington Plaza. The shopping center extended its hours so customers could take advantage of the day. She said the event highlights everything that’s great about small businesses.

“Our customers come in and you know the old show, Cheers? We know them by their name and they know us. Everybody needs to realize that all of us small businesses here in town are here for the community and we want to be part of Fort Wayne,” Keltsch said.

Keltsch said she appreciates the yearly tradition, but encourages shoppers to make it more than just an annual affair.

“Every day is Small Business Saturday. Whether it’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, come see us for Small Business Day,” Keltsch said.

Downtown Fort Wayne also got in the spirit with the return of the Holly Trolley. The shopper shuttle offered two routes.

“We’re going to catch the Fort and then go over to the Wells Street District and investigate some of those businesses over there,” shopper, Ben Williams, said.

Shoppers could visit nearly 50 stores with just one ride.

“It’s much easier than trying to get in your car and take it, find a parking space, and then move and find another parking space,” shopper, Tiffany Pulkowski, said.

They could also check out shops that may not typically be on their radar.

“We don’t generally make it downtown to shop so just to see what unique businesses there are,” Williams said.

Along the way, hopefully crossing off more than a few items on that holiday shopping list.

“We brought Grandpa. He doesn’t know that’s why he’s here, but we figure by the time we leave today, he’ll be pretty loaded down,” Pulkowski said.

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