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Zionsville is 83% small businesses, so this shopping weekend is huge for their survival

Shops prepare for Small Business Saturday
A customer purchases items at Back to the Bricks, a store in downtown Zionsville. They are hoping for a big increase in sales on Small Business Saturday and the rest of the holiday shopping season.
Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-27 11:11:07-05

ZIONSVILLE— In the Town of Zionsville, 83% of businesses are small businesses.

That means Small Business Saturday, a national movement aimed at getting shoppers to shop small and local, is crucial to nearly every shop and company in the Boone County community.

At Back to the Bricks in downtown Zionsville, they feature items made in Indiana like clothing, ornaments, games and toys.

Owner Leigh Ann Ackard says it’s one way her family business aims to give back to the community.

“We are in the ones in this community. We've lived in this community, we are the one sponsoring the Little League teams and donating for the silent auctions,” said Ackard. “Our money stays local, and our staff are local."

Zionsville stores hope specialty items and great customer service will get shoppers off their computers and into brick-and-mortar stores.

back to the bricks Zionsville

The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce represents more than 500 businesses and emphasizes for every dollar you spend at a small business, 68% stays local.

“This year, knowing that people have a choice where they can buy and people are intentionally trying to shop at these local businesses, it makes such a difference,” said Allyson Gutwein, Executive Director at the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce. “It keeps them here."

Gutwein says over the past year or so, many Zionsville shops saw a drop in foot traffic and revenue because of COVID-19.

But with many people now fully vaccinated and willing to shop in-person, Gutwein says the tides are turning.

“A lot of businesses just didn’t see the same sort of traffic in 2020 as any previous year, so it’s so difficult to compensate and recover,” said Gutwein. “Small Business Saturday is huge. We know it’s going to be a big day for a lot of businesses and retailers.”

64% of shoppers said they are likely to shop in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, up from 51% last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Two-thirds (66%) of holiday shoppers surveyed in early November plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

That amounts to an estimated 158.3 million people, up from 156.6 million last year but still below the 165.3 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

Zionsville businesses hope the positive trend holds true and continues throughout the weekend.

The Town of Zionsville hopes to capitalize on Small Business Saturday, which coincides with the kick-off of Christmas in the Village, the town’s annual event, as well as a parade which starts at 5 pm on Saturday.

Businesses will also be handing out bags throughout the weekend with information, discounts and other goodies.

“Let’s keep these retailers here by supporting them now,” said Gutwein.

On top of COVID-19 concerns, Back to the Bricks and the family’s other hardware store have been hit hard with supply chain issues, which they’ve worked to overcome.

“It has had its challenges, and we’ve had to look to source from other directions,” said Ackard. "That's the cool part about being a small business - when you can rally, reinvent, retry things. That's the cool part."