“Small Business Saturday” to highlight local shopping for 6th year

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The kickoff to the holiday shopping season doesn’t stop at Black Friday. A newer trend, known as “Small Business Saturday” focuses on getting shoppers to support local businesses.

Inside the City Exchange Shops on Wayne Street Downtown, storefront owners are getting ready for their big day.

“It takes several weeks and several hours to get everything in here and looking decent,” said Ben Keffer, owner of One Love Exchange.

This is the 6th year for Small Businesses Saturday in Fort Wayne.

A sign advertising Small Business Saturday hangs at The City Exchange Shops.
A sign advertising Small Business Saturday hangs at The City Exchange Shops.

Last year, more than $14 billion was spent at small and independent businesses nationwide on the day. That doesn’t include the publicity of people discovering the hometown stores and restaurants.

Founder of Juice Jar Fort Wayne, Scott Howard said, “We’re all trying to contribute to bringing downtown back for Fort Wayne, and I think everyone in their heart of hearts wants that.”

The Downtown Improvement District is working to help shoppers save a few steps Saturday. The Holly Trolley is running once again. You can ride from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Three routes connect more than 60 shops and restaurants around the downtown area. The trolleys are free to ride. You can find a list of trolley stops here.

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

So what does the shopper get out of Small Business Saturday? “First and foremost, they get the personal attention. It’s one on one. We know a lot of our guests by name and by what their favorite popcorn flavor is, so that’s kind of neat. It’s just a personal commitment that we have,” Poptique Shop Manager Jim Garigen said.

The Shop Local Saturday is going to be a huge event to not only introduce the shops to downtown, but it allows the Fort Wayne people to show some loyalty back to the entrepreneur.”

For a list of participating businesses, click here.

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