Locally-owned downtown businesses prepare for Holly Shopping

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Black Friday is often the biggest shopping day of the year for big box stores but locally-owned businesses in downtown Fort Wayne are look forward to the day after Black Friday.

Small Business Saturday is a national movement that encourages people to spend time shopping at smaller locally-owned stores. It always falls on the Saturday after Black Friday, and in Fort Wayne it coincides with the Downtown Improvement District’s Holly Shopping experience.

Holly Shopping does not just encourage people to shop local. It takes them right to the store fronts of Fort Wayne-owned businesses around downtown area. For new businesses like old fashioned ice cream parlor Sweets on Main owner Krista Hall, it helps to gets their name on shoppers’ minds.

“I think that some people just don’t even realize what’s here. Not just in downtown but all over Fort Wayne,” said Hall. “Any publicity is great publicity. We just believe that if someone gets one taste of our ice cream, even if it’s just a sample and you don’t buy anything, we think we will have you hooked.”

And money that is spent locally often stays local.

“You’re buying someone’s kids piano lessons, or helping someone buy a home locally,” said Hall. “All the money that you spend on our store here goes right back into Fort Wayne.”

In the case of Third World Trade Shoppe, who has participated in Holly Shopping since the beginning, supporting their store also means supporting people in need around the world. They sell fair trade items including coffee, tea, and crafts. The store doubles as a nonprofit organization, and sends all of the profits from purchases to the people who made the product. Because of this, it can be hard to advertise their business.

“Our money is going to the producers,” said Marian Waltz, who manages the store. “We have a zero advertising budget so this is a big shot in the arm for letting people know, hey, we’re still here, we’ve got new stuff, check us out.”

Waltz says they have consistently set new foot traffic records with Holly Shopping over the years. They even have to reorganize their space in order to keep the customer flow going.

“For the amount of people in and out of here we’ve even moved some furniture to accommodate the traffic flow.”

Holly Shopping runs tomorrow from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, November 30. Eight trolleys will be transporting shoppers to the participating stores. You can find a map of the trolley route on the Downtown Improvement District’s website.

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