IONIA COUNTY — Business leaders in Ionia County are encouraging residents to shop local and support brick and mortar stores as part of a national program, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Saturday is set for Nov. 28 in Ionia and Nov. 21 and 28 in Portland. Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by America Express to encourage residents to support small businesses in their community between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“For the love of our community, shop local this year,” said Ionia Downtown Development Authority Director Linda Curtis. “It’s more important than ever.”
Portland DDA Director Tina ConnerWellman said the decision to make Small Business Saturday two weekends is “in consideration of limiting crowds and great local small businesses providing additional opportunities for shoppers.”
“With the further COVID restrictions in place, it’s more important than ever to look locally and support locally,” ConnerWellman said. “Portland has a lot of great businesses with wonderful offers. They have contactless shopping and pay. While some of our businesses participating are restaurants, they are open for carryout and delivery and will make those offers as well.”
Portland’s Small Business Saturday also marks the opening of 2Rivers Marketplace, which provides local vendors the opportunity to sell items in the city’s downtown.
A full list of participants and offers for Portland small businesses is available online at miportland.org.
“We still encourage folks to make their gifts count this year and not only are you gifting the person who receives what you purchased, but you’re gifting the business that you purchased it from,” ConnerWellman said.
One of the Portland businesses participating in Small Business Saturday is Brown’s Bee Service, 250 Kent St. The business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday. Owner Kyle Brown is offering half off all sea glass art and jewelry to the first 10 purchases (one per customer), 10 percent off honey and wax candle items in the store and entry for a chance to win a basic hive starter kit valued at $165.
“It means quite a bit to mean to me, especially being a seasonal business,” Brown said. “This event wraps up the season for me.”
For Ionia, Curtis encourages residents to check out business’ social media pages and websites for offers and deals.
“It’s usually very popular,” Curtis said. “All of our retail businesses are usually open and ready for shoppers. A lot of them are already beginning to decorate and get special things in that they can have on sale and run specials on.”
One of the businesses participating in Small Business Saturday in Ionia is The Jewel Box, 328 W. Main St., in Ionia. Owner Heather Sizemore said it will be offering a 15 percent off sale and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 28.
Small Business Saturday is important to Sizemore, who opened The Jewel Box on the day in 2017.
“It means a lot because we get a lot of support from the community,” Sizemore said. “Everyone’s been great. It’s hard this year because of everything going on. Small Business Saturday is really such a nice day just to see people out and about downtown and supporting our local businesses on Main Street and in Ionia.”
— Contact reporter Evan Sasiela at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.