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Keeping it in Columbus: Shopping small on Small Business Saturday

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Santa sign

Santa Claus holds up a 'Shop Small' mat inside his house in Frankfort Square.

Through channels such as the internet and local organizations like the chamber of commerce, small businesses across the country have access to a wider range of customers than ever before.

With that being said, they can be overlooked, simply because customers are unsure of a new business at first, or unsure if that business even has what they're looking for.

Sandie Fischer, membership and community engagement director with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, said local small businesses are big supporters of their communities when it comes to supporting local events, financially or otherwise.

"When we knock on doors in our community and ask for donations to give to the church bazaar or a cancer benefit or post-prom, we knock on their doors," Fischer said. "If we don't support them, they're not going to be in business and they contribute to so many fundraisers in the community."

Enter Small Business Saturday.

Every year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, small businesses encourage their communities to stop in and pay them a visit, sometimes offering discounts or promotions to encourage traffic. This year, the chamber and local businesses will partner for a Columbus Bucks promotion for participating chamber businesses.

"At the chamber, we promote our local businesses and from that, the opportunity to promote entrepreneurs over the years has been a focus of the chamber. Shopping local brings money to the community versus shopping online or things of that nature," Fischer said.

Participating businesses will offer promotions and discounts for those using Columbus Bucks. Columbus Bucks spent at local businesses will be put into a drawing to win $500 in Columbus Bucks, simply for using them at local businesses.

Columbus Bucks, according to Barbara Duffey, owner of Barbara Jean's, are important for small businesses because they can only be used in Columbus. Small Business Saturday, she added, puts a little more of the spotlight on those businesses where they can be used.

"It highlights local businesses that support many things in their community and supporting us on Small Business Saturday allows us to participate in all those fundraisers and benefits the community relies on, it helps us to do that," Duffey said.

Fischer added that small businesses owned by people in the community have more of a personal touch when one shops there, because they are neighbors, friends and family.

"When you walk into a local business, they know your name, your style. Recently I made a couple purchases with the holidays coming up and they knew my preference for colors and how I like to decorate my house," Fischer said. "They ask how your family is or what you're doing for Thanksgiving, you don't have those conversations at a big box store."

Columbus Bucks are available at the chamber office at 751 33rd Ave. or from Santa's house in Frankfort Square from 8-11 a.m. on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

Those using Columbus Bucks on Nov. 26 will receive 10% off their purchase at Arby's, Barbara Jean's, BeYOU-tiful Boutique and Gifts, Country Lane Garden, Hy-Vee, J. Patrick's, Juice Stop, Lavender Thyme Gifts, Market23, Mike Greiner's National Mattress and Furniture Warehouse, Terrace Books, The Friedhof Building, Tooley's Drug and Home Care, Treasures Boutique, Unity Eye Centers and Urban Farm Boutique.

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