FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Big box stores tend to see more traffic on Black Friday while locally owned stores look forward to Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is a national effort to support locally owned businesses. WANE 15 caught up with two businesses who opened new stores at very different times during the pandemic about how it has affected the way they conduct business.
When furniture store House to Home opened at their new location at The Landing earlier this year…owners Beth Stutzman and Emily Baker were not expecting to have to revisit their game plan so quickly.
“We had the pleasure of having our grand opening on March 7th and then closing down a week later,” said Baker. “It just forced us into getting creative and figuring out how to continue to serve our customers while maintaining a safe environment.”
To keep their business alive, they turned towards the Internet to make sales.
“We started selling a lot more online during that time, we did free deliveries to local people,” said Stutzman.
“We did some things like live shopping experiences,” added Baker. “We went live on Facebook and just walked around the store and we called in and ordered things and shopped from home safely. Just trying to think of new and creative ways to sell items.”
Lauren Lamping opened a brick-and-mortar store for her clothing boutique, Chic, at a time when businesses were allowed to operate with some normalcy, at least compared to the start of the pandemic.
“We opened up the storefront at the end of September,” said Lamping. “But we did a lot of pop-ups for the last two years and we had an online presence as well.”
In the weeks since opening, she said foot traffic has not been impeded by the pandemic.
“I’ve had a ton of repeat customers, new customers, so traffic has actually been really great,” said Lamping. “I’ve been really surprised by how wonderful everyone has been embracing the new boutique.”
According to Lamping, a big reason they have been able to maintain success stems from a marketing plan with a strong online focus.
“Making sure that we’re on Facebook, Instagram, doing mailers,” said Lamping. “Just kind of word of mouth has been super helpful.”
Both Chic and House to Home are hopeful they will see more customers check out their stores not just on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the holiday season as well. Baker said it is something small businesses rely on and is especially important in 2020.
“It’s a hard time probably for anybody but especially small businesses having to close down, lay off employees,” said Baker. “Being able to support local business, buy as many Christmas gifts as you can locally is what’s going to hopefully help us all make it through this.”
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