The bigger picture: Ohio Valley residents, visitors come for Small Business Saturday | News, Sports, Work

Pomeroy, Ohio resident Brandon Bartee looks in the window of The Cook’s Shop on Front Street in Marietta with his son Oliver during a family small business shopping tour Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

MARIETTA — Little Hocking resident Elizabeth Bennett plans to support local businesses Saturday and make time for it.

“I’ll go through the shops and however long it takes, it will take,” she said as she walked down Front Street in Marietta. “I’m not in a hurry today.”

Bennett said it was “It’s very important to me that small businesses stay alive. I try to do very little online shopping.”

Bennett was one of many area residents looking for Christmas gifts at local small business stores Saturday. Launched in 2010 by American Express, the promotion aims to ensure smaller operations participate at the start of retail’s busiest season.

“If you don’t support them, they don’t stay” Parkersburg resident Brenda Brumm said as she browsed the merchandise at the Apricot Lane boutique in downtown Parkersburg.

Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelsey Eaton, second from right, gives directions to Tiffin, Ohio residents Zach and Charlie Ziegler Saturday morning at the Armory on Front Street in Marietta, while Chamber Membership Manager Kaitlin Streeter listens Chamber representatives were handing out bags and promotional materials for small businesses on Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Owner Pam Creel offered Saturday specials for small businesses at the women’s fashion store and the nearby Wine Down on Market. Both businesses opened earlier this year.

“It’s really nice to see so many people downtown, for sure,” Creel said. “The community has definitely responded very well.”

She said the promotion from Downtown PKB and other businesses has been a big help.

Representatives from the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce handed out free tote bags, Marietta Bucks and shopping guides on the front lawn of the Armory on Front Street to small businesses on Saturday.

“We saw a good mix of some out-of-town visitors as well as some local people … taking advantage of the discounts and deals on offer today,” said Kelsey Eaton, the chamber’s president and CEO. “Great time, very good attitude.”

From left, Marietta residents Sydney Wright, Donna Muntz and Maddie Muntz browse items at Lucky One Apparel + Home in Marietta on Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Charlie and Zach Ziegler were in town from Tiffin for their 10th anniversary.

“We’ll probably shop anyway” Charlie Ziegler said. “It just seems like it’s a small business Saturday.”

Marietta resident Donna Muntz was shopping with her daughter and a friend at Lucky One Apparel + Home.

Shopping local “keeps our local people in business … helps bring tourism into town,” she said.

It was the second Small Business Saturday for Lucky One owner Lauren Farrar.

Little Hocking resident Elizabeth Bennett walks down Front Street in Marietta with some of her Saturday small business purchases. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“Last year was going really well considering how little inventory I had. I had just started,” she said. “So this year I’m really excited to see what I get out of her.”

Owner Amanda Parsons said she’s seen good traffic all morning at Penny Pinchers, a store on Front Street that offers toys, decor and more.

“It was very stable, busy. It is wonderful,” she said.

While some shoppers started looking for gifts and bargains on Friday, Scots Marketplace & Greenhouse staff sat down on Black Friday to prepare for Saturday’s spotlight.

“We leave that to the big box (stores) and just try to stick with our family, work a little and play a little too,” co-owner Maddison Barr said. “It’s important for small businesses to have that reprieve.”

A chalkboard outside Apricot Lane Boutique on Market Street in Parkersburg encourages people to “shop a little” for Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Ryan Neville and Jacqueline Herran stopped by The Scots on Saturday to give back some of the support the business has shown to their venture, The Bakery and Coffee House in Williamstown.

“We kind of don’t support like people used to support us,” Heran said.

“I think it comes down to community,” added Neville, her fiancé.

Giving back to the community that supports them is a priority for S&P Harley-Davidson of Williamstown, too, said owner/director Patsy Hardy. That includes buying from area businesses when possible and contributing to causes like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree drive, which the business is collecting items for this year.

“It means a lot to us when local people support us,” Hardy said.

Columbus residents Phil Duggan and Audrey Eisenman browse items at Apricot Lane Boutique in downtown Parkersburg on Saturday, promoted as Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The S&P offers trades throughout the week instead of waiting for Friday or Saturday.

“I think in today’s environment, with all the digital media … it’s challenging for small businesses to compete,” Hardy said. “Small Business Saturday means a lot when we can get local people to support the investments made by small businesses.”

Pennsboro residents John and Judy Gaston are regulars at S&P and were looking for Christmas gifts there before stopping at the Ellenboro Craft Show on Saturday — another way to support local businesses.

“I think big box stores outperform small businesses,” said John Gaston. “I’m always for small town business.”

Evan Bevins can be reached at [email protected]

Vienna resident Vicki Harris, left, and her daughter, Samantha Spitsnaugle, of Pittsburgh, browse items at Scots Marketplace and Greenhouse in Vienna while shopping for Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Belpre resident Alison Ferrell, left, and her mother, Amy Gehrke, fill out forms to enter Saturday’s small business giveaways at the Scots Marketplace and Greenhouse in Vienna. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Pennsboro residents John and Judy Gaston check out a motorcycle at S&P Harley-Davidson in Williamstown, one of their small business’ Saturday stops. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Parkersburg resident Julianne Grady, right, receives a free tote bag and Marietta Bucks from Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelsy Eaton Saturday morning at the Armory on Front Street in Marietta, where chamber representatives were handing out promotional materials for small businesses in Saturday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

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