INDIANAPOLIS — You might be getting ready to do some holiday shopping later this week, and local business owners are hoping you will choose to shop at small locally owned shops this year.
Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and the day has extra meaning this year as many local business owners try to rebound from the economic impacts of the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it.
“Summer was great when it was warm people would sit outside and we had our window open, but now that it's starting to get colder we've seen a noticeable decline,” said Zachary Davis, the co-owner of The Wine Market in Fountain Square. “Thanksgiving sales are a really crucial time for us, we've definitely seen it slow down because people aren’t celebrating, which we appreciate people heading that advice, but it does take a little bit of a toll on the normal big gatherings and buying wine for friends and family."
He’s hoping Small Business Saturday will bring new customers and people start shopping for holiday gifts.
The owner of City Dogs Grocery is also hoping the weekend will kick off a much-needed boost in sales.
“By shopping local, it gives back to your community. It gives back to the neighborhood, so it’s really important just keep all these businesses going,” Christi Rider, owner of City Dogs Grocery, said.
Rider says people should consider shopping local because they’ll get an experience they won’t find in most big box stores.
“You’re not going to get that one-on-one personal service," Rider said. "We pride ourselves on customer service and having that knowledge."
Statistics from American Express’ Small Business Saturday website show 62% of small business owners need consumer spending to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year in order to stay in business.
In order to promote the small businesses in Fountain Square, the Fountain Square Merchants Association created “passports” for Small Business Saturday. You get a stamp when you visit a locally owned business and when you have 10 stamps you can be entered in a drawing for a gift basket.
“If these businesses start to close it hurts everybody," Davis said. "It hurts the property values because you're going to have a lot of vacant buildings down here. It decreases home values because so much is moving out of the area. It is not going to have that thriving cultural scene that everybody wants to live in and enjoy."
Davis said many of the small businesses in Fountain Square are offering curbside pickup and delivery options if you don’t feel comfortable shopping in person.