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Small Businesses The Focus Of Saturday Shopping

Lynze Hensley

With Thanksgiving Day under their belts and the holiday shopping season officially underway, holiday gift-givers will be out in force this weekend. While some shoppers will likely head to big-box retailers like Target and Walmart, local business owners are hoping some people will consider shopping small instead.


Small Business Saturday is a marketing campaign started in 2010 by American Express. Since then the idea has been embraced in all fifty states and supported by the federal government through legislation.

Holly Allen, director of marketing for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, says the campaign came at a good time and it’s been a successful movement.

“Consumers were really tired of these big box stores coming up and eating up the market and putting those Mom & Pop shops out of business," says Allen. "The important thing about small businesses is they’re owned by our neighbors and so the money we spend there stays here locally and supports real families. It’s not going to a major CEO’s third vacation home. It’s staying here in our community and that’s where we need it the most and that’s where consumers, frankly, want their money to go.”

The Chamber is providing assistance to help local businesses with their marketing strategies this Saturday.

Raquet Point in the Fairmont Plaza Shopping Center in Kettering, is a tennis equipment and apparel shop. Store owner Alex Sanchez says they’re doing well for a new business, but she hopes Small Business Saturday will help attract extra foot traffic this weekend.

Sanchez says, “It is always difficult because of the investment that you have to put in and yea I mean the more people come to our store the better we can serve and the better we can survive.”    

At nearby Frequency Fitness, owner Ben Heal says he appreciates the help in getting the word out about his business to potential customers. It’s something Heal has been working on since the personal training gym opened in July.

"You know it’s kind of hard to gain traction. As soon as you throw that new name into the mix and the new location you have to work on getting people to know where you’re at and what you do," says Heal. And though Frequency Fitness isn't a retail outlet, the owner/trainer says they will be participating in Small Business Saturday. 

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will help promote 16 businesses on Saturday.

While small businesses are the focus of the Saturday event, they already have a big economic impact on the nation's economy. According to the US Small Business Administration, “28 million small businesses across the country account for more than half of all retail sales and jobs in the U.S..

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.