Carriage House Style in Lebanon County is one of hundreds of locally owned businesses that will be participating in Small Business Saturday.
York Daily Record
Ten years ago, American Express launched Small Business Saturday to encourage people to spend their holiday money in local stores.
It was billed as a way to help the country pull itself out of a recession.
Once again, small businesses around central Pennsylvania will use this Saturday, Nov. 28, to promote “shop local.” But this time it has a more urgent meaning, as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that’s plagued the world for most of 2020.
Many towns and cities in Adams, Franklin, Lebanon and York counties have special plans for Small Business Saturday, from gift cards and raffles to walking tours. Many shops in those areas are offering discounts on certain merchandise or specialty items.
Jane Yorty is going all out for Small Business Saturday at her Lebanon County store, Carriage House Style, by combining it with a Christmas open house.
The store, located on Main Street in Quentin, features home décor and gifts. The majority of Yorty’s goods are made by approximately 30 artists or are upcycled items, which are goods that are used in new ways that increase their value.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people that it’s a one-stop shop, and we aspire for that all of the time,” she said. “That you will be able to come in here and find a gift for a friend or you’ll be able to find that home décor that you’ve been looking for.”
Half of the store features holiday items, including a tree filled with ornaments that poke fun at 2020.
“2020: Stink, stank, stunk” reads one in true Grinch style.
Another shows the year and a picture of a fire in a large trash receptacle.
“Our first pandemic” reads another.
Yorty says many of the artists that provide her store with goods will be at her Small Business Saturday celebration. One will be on the outdoor patio providing personalized products, and a new local bakery will provide refreshments.
Owner Jane Yorty rings up a purchase at Carriage House Style in Lebanon County. Her store will take part in Small Business Saturday. (Photo: Shelly Stallsmith, York Daily Record)
Food and Santa Claus are proving to be the most challenging part of the day for this year’s sale, she said.
“I’ll probably have someone manning [the food table] this year, just to make sure it’s clean,” Yorty said. “We’re trying to figure out how to take pictures of kids and have a socially distant Santa, but make it look like it makes sense in the picture.”
She uses a local man who portrays Santa as a way to raise money for a scholarship. She said last year people took photos on their phones and gave him a donation. He raised several hundred dollars in a couple hours of work.
Yorty said masks will be required. She sells handmade masks if customers need one.
She said business has really been good in recent months, and she attributes it to people feeling safe to shop in smaller places.
“I think that people are trying to support local because they really have seen that if these stores go, their whole landscape of their hometown really changes,” Yorty said. “It’s not like we want to not have big box stores, but big boxes aren’t as invested in the people who are there as small businesses.”
Yorty, like businesses in other counties, survived the lockdown period thanks to a beefed-up online presence. And when restrictions started to ease, she learned a valuable lesson that she hopes other small-business owners have picked up on.
She learned to say, “yes.” A lot.
“Can you stay open a little later?” customers asked her.
“’Yes,’” she answered.
“Can you open a little earlier?”
“If you can do it without compromising your work-life balance, you need to say yes to a lot of different things,” Yorty said. “Because everything has changed.”
Here is a look at how Small Business Saturday is being celebrated in different central Pennsylvania counties (this list is developing):
Chambers of Commerce in Gettysburg and New Oxford are running programs, including a free BINGO card on the New Oxford Facebook page. It’s all for bragging rights.
Nearly a dozen businesses from hardware stores to restaurants are running specials throughout the day in New Oxford.
In Biglerville, Hollabaugh’s is offering free coffee, hourly winners, gift basket drawings and more, at its store located at 545 Carlisle Road.
Sisters Cortney Hanks, left, and Brittani Black own Black & Blush, a women’s clothing boutique in Chambersburg. Located at 81 N. Main St., it will be offering door-buster deals, denim sales and discounts on clearance merchandise for Small Business Saturday. (Photo: Submitted)
Owned by sisters Brittani Black and Courtney Hanks, the clothing store located at 81 N. Main St., Chambersburg, will be offering door-buster deals, denim sales and discounts on clearance merchandise.
Downtown Chambersburg is hosting Small Business Saturday. Shoppers who bring receipts for $25 or more dated Nov. 27 or 28 can receive some of the more than $2,500 in Downtown Dollars that will be given away. Receipts will be collected from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of F&M Trust on the square.
Downtown Dollars will be given out in either $10, $20 or $50 vouchers that can be used just like cash at participating stores on Nov. 28.
Hanks said the store was open in its current location for 45 days before the pandemic hit and they were forced to shut down.
“Business really started to pick up online then,” she said. “We were doing live sales on Facebook, and people were spending a lot online. Then when we reopened, the online sales dropped off, and things picked up in the store.”
She said October was a particularly good month for the store.
“I don’t know if people were doing their Christmas shopping early in case things shut down again, or if they just wanted to be out of the house,” Hanks said.
Small Business Saturday runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the city of Lebanon.
In addition to shopping, there will be a guided walk around town to explore shops and restaurants, beginning at 11 a.m.
Specialty businesses and restaurants will be providing special promotions throughout the day.
Downtown York, Inc. is planning a variety of specials, deals and promotions in all three shopping areas of the city.
Tobi Bingaman’s TK’s Nut & Candy is one of several Central Market shops that are looking forward to Small Business Saturday in the Market District.
As someone who competes directly against big box stores and online companies, Bingaman is hoping that people opt for shopping small this year.
“Things are improving,” she said, “but it’s a struggle against the box stores.”
She said people have been following the latest guidelines and have been courteous as business has picked up. Bingaman is offering a free bag of Gummi bears with any $10 purchase on Nov. 28.
Karen Bowman doesn’t have any special plans or promotions at Kokopelli’s, a stand she owns with several other artists that features handmade jewelry, masks and decorations.
“Sales have been great,” she said. “Saturdays have been very busy. If we can stay open until after Christmas, we’ll be fine.”
The problem for Bowman and her co-owners is finding the materials they need to make their products. Those supplies were usually available at craft shows throughout the year, but most of them were canceled when the pandemic hit.
Downtown York’s celebration also features restaurants and shops in the Royal Square and WeCo districts.
If you are looking for an experience that is completely unique, there will be a demonstration of colonial cooking techniques at the Colonial Complex from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Instructions and recipes will be available.
The fun isn’t just happening in towns and boroughs, Small Business Saturday can happen wherever there is a locally owned business.
At Paulus Mt. Airy Orchard outside of Dillsburg, in northern York County, every customer has a chance to win a prize. A spin of the wheel can get them 10 percent off a purchase, free apple cider doughnuts, ice cream, apple cider slushie, hot drink or they could get their entire purchase free.
Shelly Stallsmith is a trends reporter for the York Daily Record. She can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter at @ShelStallsmith.
Read or Share this story: https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2020/11/24/central-pa-shop-owners-counting-small-business-saturday-year/3772638001/