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Keep It Local

Noblesville’s Small Business Saturday Initiative Unites the Community

Writer/ Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Small Business Saturday, a national initiative created through American Express, was launched seven years ago as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to encourage holiday shoppers to give their business to local brick and mortar merchants. In Noblesville, Small Business Saturday is hosted by Noblesville Main Street, a stand-alone 501c3 whose focus is to provide positive community experiences by connecting members of the community in organic ways.

“We’re here for the good of downtown. We’re advocates for downtown,” says Chris Owens, CEO of Noblesville Main Street. “This is our third consecutive year hosting the event, and we’re happy to take on the responsibility.”

As host, Owens and his team not only coordinate marketing efforts for the event but also compile a master list of participating merchants and a knowledge of what each of them offers in terms of specials or sales. On the day of the event, Noblesville Main Street sets up a tent next to Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano, serving as “community concierge,” complete with an array of on-site merchant information. Most of the downtown businesses participate. They include everything from vintage antique stores to women’s boutiques, art studios and jewelry vendors to children’s clothing and handmade items.

“We have just about anything you might want,” says Owens, observing that Small Business Saturday is a great way for customers to develop a one-on-one relationship with local merchants.

“This event can create a foundation for longevity,” Owens adds. “Customers get to know these business owners and they want to come back on a repeated basis.”

Noblesville resident Debbie Zollenger Greskamp likes to shop the independent stores in downtown Noblesville for unique and one-of-a-kind gifts.

“I find a large array of handmade items as well gently loved vintage pieces,” Zollenger Greskamp says. “I usually come home with a little something for myself, too.”

Laura Kistner, a Noblesville resident for the past 24 years, supports Small Business Saturdays because the pricing and selection are so magnificent.

“That’s when they have all their deals and specials, making it a great time to Christmas shop,” says Kistner, an interior designer with L Designs. “I’d much rather purchase from these local merchants than go to the malls because these stores have so much more unique stuff. It’s just a nice time to get out and support the community.”

Every year Hamilton County also lights up the downtown square by displaying more than 20 sparkling holiday ice sculptures. This year the board elected to move the ice sculpture display from the Friday after Thanksgiving to Small Business Saturday in hopes of creating greater awareness of downtown.

“We’re hoping that the merchants will see some residual business because of the transition,” Owens says. “Now the ice sculptures will be located around the courthouse square and, depending on the number, potentially throughout the rest of downtown Noblesville.”

The jam-packed holiday weekend begins with the Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, continues with the tree lighting on Friday evening, Small Business Saturday and the ice sculptures on Saturday, then concludes with the Christmas parade on Sunday.

“It’s an amazing weekend in downtown Noblesville,” Owens says. “We’ve got basically four days of holiday programming that provide multiple reasons for our community to come be active in downtown.”

Hours for Small Business Saturday run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ice sculptures will be on display from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit noblesvillemainstreet.org.

About Christy Heitger-Ewing

Christy Heitger-Ewing is an award-winning writer and columnist who writes human interest stories for national, regional, and local magazines. She is also the author of the book “Cabin Glory: Amusing Tales of Time Spent at the Family Retreat” (www.cabinglory.com).

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