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Local businesses hope residents shop small on Saturday

By George W. Davis correspondent

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The South Main Centre, a shopping plaza in Green that includes several local businesses, is a popular destination for shoppers. (Jen Sprandel/

GREEN: A jam-packed weekend of shopping is upon us, but the most important day for many could be Saturday, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Small local retailers have teamed up for the third annual Small Business Saturday when shoppers are being urged to support local shops and entrepreneurs to stimulate their businesses in a win-win situation for both consumer and business.

American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 to counter all the excitement over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The credit card firm has hopes that nationwide this year’s total of small-business customers will exceed 100 million, delighting retailers and shoppers alike.

Many of the participants are offering specials for the day, while others are supporting the call because small businesses mean so much to communities through charitable giving, jobs and benefits.

Lori Howerton, chief executive of the Green Chamber of Commerce, is a strong proponent of Small Business Saturday and shopping at local independents year-round because of the impact on the community.

“It is critical to the success of the economy,” said Howerton, referring to shopping locally. “Small businesses represent a huge number of jobs, and if we don’t support them then we all lose.

“When you purchase something at a local store the return to the community is much greater than when you purchase” at stores with outside ownership.

Among those Green businesses participating in Small Business Saturday, Howerton said, is Gallery 143 in the Green Plaza off Massillon and Steese roads. The shop is offering 20 percent off entire frame orders and have sale prices on some handcrafted and wall art as well.

At My Sister’s Yarn Shop next to the Bistro on Massillon Road is taking 25 percent off scarf yarn as well as sock yarn, while Menches Bros. Restaurant & Pub on Massillon Road in the Shops of Green will be open for breakfast at 7 a.m. and will offer a gift certificate special of $25 gift certificates for $20, Howerton said.

Robert Ball, manager of Henry B. Ball Jewelers on Dressler Road in Stark County’s Belden Village and Akron, commented:

“I am a big proponent of supporting local businesses. I try to shop where I live within the community. The trouble today … it’s too easy to just get online and boom, but it doesn’t support the local community.

“We contribute to the local economy by [providing jobs and giving to] local charities, and we hope the public will, therefore, support those local businesses who contribute to the local charities, which the big stores with their out-of-town owners don’t do.”

 Summit County’s Lit Wick Gallery on Ghent Road in Fairlawn’s Merchant Square Plaza across from Summit Mall will participate, featuring art work by local artists and 10 percent off all candle purchases.

Owner-operator J.M. Tkalec said he prefers to stay local, “and I hear it from my customers on a daily basis. There are a lot of people wanting to stay local now. It’s very exciting.”

Christy Page, CEO and president of the six-county Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne counties said Tuesday that the BBB is teaming up with American Express, a BBB-accredited business partner, to spread the word on why small businesses are so awesome and so important to the local community.

She also noted that American Express credit card users will receive a $25 credit when purchasing $25 in merchandise at stores registered with American Express.