Merchants gear up for Small Business Saturday
Retailers ready to open their doors to holiday shoppers
By KELBY WINGERT
Small Business Saturday, the shopping holiday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday, is one of the best business days for downtown Fort Dodge shops, said Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge.
“They report back that they make more sales that day than they do any other day of the year,” she said.
With Black Friday being the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season and Cyber Monday being the largest online shopping day of the year, Patrick is encouraging shoppers to buy local and visit the dozens of small businesses in Fort Dodge and the surrounding areas on Saturday.
“For every dollar spent locally, 67 cents stays in the community,” Patrick said. “You think about that and you realize that by shopping locally, you’re not just getting that item, but you’re actually helping that family thrive in that community.”
Most local shop owners shop local as well, she added.
“You’re just supporting the whole community by keeping their dollars local and making sure that we can have local people stay in Fort Dodge and create a great place to shop, live and have a great time,” Patrick said.
Wicker Jewelers, 700 Central Ave., has been a locally-owned business in Fort Dodge since 1932. Current owner Marilyn Simonson said the jewelry store sees a good number of shoppers on Small Business Saturday each year, though not quite as many as in the few days leading up to Christmas.
“Using the term ‘shop local’ has really helped, I think more people are starting to come downtown,” Simonson said.
Simonson said she knows some shoppers are deterred from visiting downtown businesses because of the metered street parking, and she is appreciative of the partnership between The Messenger and Main Street Fort Dodge to put bags over the parking meters to provide free two-hour parking throughout the holiday shopping season.
“That has helped us through Christmas,” she said. “So I think that’s wonderful that the Messenger did that.”
Aaron Tighe, manager of Lifestyles Home and Office, 611 Central Ave., said that as an indpendently owned and operated local business, any sales day is an important one, but Small Business Saturday still helps.
“When they set aside a specific day to help guide more people down here, that’s good for everybody,” he said.
While many national retailers boast special sales for Black Friday, many local businesses will have sales and specials on Small Business Saturday.
Ron Birkestrand, owner of Osweiler’s Fashions, 625 Second St.in Webster City, said his store will have 25 percent off the whole store.
“We’re just very thankful for our customers,” Birkestrand said.
Other Webster City businesses taking part in Small Business Saturday, according to the Webster City Chamber of Commerce, include:
• Spangler Automotive- 1118 2nd Street
• Gilbert Jewelers- 604 2nd
• Salon Meraki-714 Wilson Ave
• Grid Iron Grill and Sports Lounge-1121 E. 2nd Street
• True Value-541 2nd Street
• Leon’s Pizza-643 2nd Street
• Interior Spaces-631 2nd
• Osweiler’s Fashions-625 2nd street
• Webster City Auto Center- 129 2nd Street
• 2nd Street Emporium- 615 2nd Street
• Eekhoff Motors- 1951 James Street
• Heart N Home- 1423 Superior Street
• Morning Glory Coffee- 719 Des Moines
• Gilbert Flooring and Paint- 713 Seneca Street
• Platinum and Red Salon- 713 Des Moines Street
• The Produce Station- 723 Seneca Street
• U.S. Cellular- 546 2nd Street
Tighe said Lifestyles will also have several specials going on on Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
Shoppers will have more to do on Saturday in downtown Fort Dodge than just shop, Patrick said.
“At 9 a.m. at Bloomers, Santa will be waiting for the kiddos,” she said. “Everybody that comes will have doughnuts and juice with Santa. He’ll be at Bloomers for about an hour before he starts walking through downtown.”
Shoppers will see Santa Claus and the Grinch stopping by many of the downtown businesses to take photos with kids and families, Patrick added.
“There’s a thing I heard the other day, ‘Support your ho-ho-hometown,'” Tighe said. “The more traffic we can get, the better for everyone downtown here. There’s plenty of businesses that are open.”