Don’t forget local small businesses in your holiday shopping

November 23, 2018 GMT

Small Business Saturday. It’s a thing.

American Express : yeah, the charge card folks : invented it eight years ago.

The idea is that while some cool and unique gifts can be found online and in big chain stores, some really awesome and unique gifts are also available from local artisans, boutiques and gift shops.

According to an American Express survey, about 67 cents of every dollar spent in a small business remains in the local community.

Last year’s total U.S. holiday sales rang up to almost $700 billion. Let that sink in for a minute. 

Imagine how much northeast Indiana would benefit if a bigger chunk of that change was spent at local small businesses.

I’m not saying shoppers should boycott big retailers. Thousands of local people support their families with paychecks from those stores. And I’m sure some online purchases are from small retailers, who need the business, too. 

I’m sure I’ll personally buy from retailers of various sizes this year.

But I know that if I don’t make a point of shopping locally, it would be all-too-easy to choose a one-stop chain store over visiting a series of smaller stores. I’m not always the most patient shopper, especially when stores get crowded, so I plan to be intentional this year.

Local officials have made it easy to shop in downtown Fort Wayne this Saturday with the annual Holly Trolley Shopping event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

By offering free trolley rides, organizers hope to ease shoppers’ parking concerns. All three lines will merge at the Arts United Plaza at Main and Barr streets.

For a list of participants and maps of the three routes, download the Holly Trolley guide and accompanying map at HollyTrolleyDowntown.com.

Some retailers are offering special discounts, refreshments and entertainment that day. Those are noted on the guide.

And don’t forget small businesses throughout the region, including wineries, museum gift shops and retailers in shopping centers. They all offer great gifts.

I’ll see you there!