Small Business Saturday shopping promotes local business


By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

From chocolates to collectibles, the Youngstown area has a range of small businesses for Small Business Saturday shoppers to explore today.

North Jackson Antiques and Uniques, for example, includes trinkets and treasures large and small representing 19 vendors.

Small shops such as this new antique store capitalize on personalized business.

The items have a touch – and maybe a taste – of home.

“There’s a lot of things at a small business you can’t get in a big-box store,” said KC Watson, owner of the new antique shop on state Route 45.

Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 by American Express as a way to encourage people across the country to support small, local businesses. The U.S. Senate officially recognized the day in 2011. By 2012, 73.9 million people were out shopping at small businesses. Last year, there was an estimated $14.3 billion spent on Small Business Saturday.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our community,” said Rachel Flickinger, vice president of sales and services for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. “They are really vital to our area. They help our community grow and thrive.”

Antiques and Uniques is just one of the small businesses in a community made up of several.

Watson has been a lifelong collector. As a child, she collected egg cups. When she got older and lived in Japan, she collected oriental pieces from teapots to kimonos. Now, these pieces are a part of the store she opened this month. Collectibles such as vintage jewelry and vintage glassware are her top sellers.

“If someone collects, we’ve got it,” Watson said.

The shop also offers painting classes and allows customers to make wish lists of items they would like. This time of year is the busy time for Watson, just as it is for Gorant Chocolatier, another small business.

Since 1949, Gorant has been a sweet staple of the Youngstown area.

November and December are the big months for the business. Sales during these months drive in more dollars for Gorant, while Easter drives in more pound sales.

At the location at 8301 Market St., the smell of freshly made chocolates permeates the store where customers pick out some of their favorites – typically the pecan toodles, French mints and butter caramels.

Small Business Saturday gets busier every year at Gorant.

“For us, we like to capitalize on it because we are a small business,” said Jack Peluse, director of operations at Gorant Chocolatier.

For Small Business Saturday, Gorant locations at 8301 Market St. and 4259 Boardman-Canfield Road in Canfield will have a “buy one, get one 50 percent off everything” special.

“The money spent stays local,” said Joe Miller, owner of Gorant Chocolatier.

Small Business Saturday shoppers are encouraged to post their shopping experiences on social media using #shopsmall.

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