Small businesses in Johnson County and across the country are gearing up for one of their biggest shopping days of the year.
The good deals on Black Friday don’t end at chains. Most small businesses in the county have deals all weekend long, starting on Friday and ending on Saturday or Sunday, depending on business hours.
Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday created by American Express in 2010 to give small businesses a boost during the recession. Today, making small purchases on this day and throughout the year has become a cherished tradition.
To start the day, local shoppers can attend launch celebrations hosted by the Franklin Chamber of Commerce or Restore Old Town Greenwood to receive tote bags with coupons, free gifts, and samples.
The Franklin Chamber’s Start Here Open House will be held Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at its downtown office at 120 E. Jefferson St., Franklin. This year marks the 10th year for the event, said Rosie Chambers, Executive Director.
“We encourage people to start here, that is, start local, start in Franklin,” Chambers said.
Chamber officials will be distributing tote bags and incentives such as coupons. The bags contain business information, coupons and loot from local businesses. The tote bags will sell out quickly, and there’ll likely be a line out the door before 10 a.m., she said.
People come back year after year for a chance to win Chamber Cash, a cash voucher toward a purchase at participating small businesses. The first 100 people to walk through the chamber’s doors will receive an envelope containing between $10 and $100 in chamber money to spend at participating stores, she said.
New this year are sidewalk stickers showing which companies are attending the event. The stickers, which are about 2 feet in diameter, will be eye-catching for people shopping downtown, Chambers said.
“Franklin is obviously very walkable,” she said. “As you walk the streets… you will look down the street and sidewalks and see where your next stop will be.”
Companies attending Small Business Saturday in Franklin include Eclectic Jade, Toodleydoo Toys and Wild Geese Bookshop, Chambers said.
“It’s a pretty good mix, and I think you’ll be able to find a gift for everyone on your list,” she said.
The Franklin launch event will also include refreshments, including coffee, donuts and other treats, she said.
The launch of Restore Old Town Greenwood’s Small Business Saturday will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Take Root Country Store, 202 N. Madison Avenue, Greenwood
They will have 50 tote bags to give away on a first come, first served basis with items representing businesses in the community. As in years past, the Restore Old Town Board of Directors invested $500 in Greenwood Old Town Dollars ranging from $5 to $35. The dollars can be exchanged for purchases at participating businesses, said event organizer Darcy Miles.
There’s often a line for the bags, so expect the bags to go quickly, and shoppers are advised to come early to get the coupons, Miles said.
“Everyone really likes to line up for these bags,” she said. “Everyone wants this for $35, that’s most of what’s in there.”
Businesses accepting the dollars include Brick & Mortar, Board & Brush Creative Studio, Cafe Euclid, Coffeehouse Five, Take Root Country Store and Vino Villa, Miles said.
“People can come out and shop, support everyone, have lunch and have a good time,” she said.
Local retailers in Bargersville, Edinburgh and other small Johnson County towns will also participate in the big day, although no events are planned in those communities.
Miles said it’s sad to look back over the past few years and see how businesses where Restore Old Town Greenwood previously hosted its kickoffs have now disappeared. That’s why it’s important to support small businesses, she said.
“We support their dream of being and owning a successful small business owner,” said Miles. “Without them, our city would be pretty dull and boring,” she said.
Small businesses are the backbone of a community, so it’s important for residents to support them when they can, Chambers and Miles said. They keep cities alive and growing.
“You’re kind of the heart of the community,” Miles said.
Many of the owners of these businesses are friends and neighbors. For Franklin, small businesses are what makes the city special, Chambers said.
“They’re making Franklin a daily goal, and we have to support them not just on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but all year long,” she said.
This is especially true given the past few years with the pandemic and the future struggles that come with inflation and the economic climate, she said.
“It feels very important every year to support these small businesses,” Chambers said. “That includes restaurants, shops, and service businesses, that includes everyone that’s local and just the people that make up your community.”