Maybe you already know where you’ll be lining up for deals on the day after Thanksgiving. But what shops and restaurants should Cincinnati and Tristate seniors check out this Small Business Saturday?
What is Small Business Saturday? Glad you asked!
It’s a counterpoint or, if you will, a reaction to big box retailers’ so-called “Black Friday” doorbuster sales. Such deep discounting (and online sales) have severely cut into mom-and-pop retailers’ profits since the late 1990s, and consequently, many American small businesses have been forced to close.
Realizing the extent of the problem, American Express partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2010 to develop a way of promoting small businesses during the critical holiday shopping season and helping to shore up their trade.
Small Business Saturday has been celebrated on the Saturday following Thanksgiving every year since. People who celebrate it commit to spend a significant portion of their holiday shopping budgets at smaller retailers, restaurants and businesses.
If you’d like to participate, there are hundreds of locally-owned options in the Tri-State, but here are a few places to give you an idea and get your holiday shopping at local retailers started.
King Arthur’s Court Toys
Shopping for a younger grandchild? Does he or she love building bricks, trainsets, classic playsets and traditional toys? Then King Arthur’s Court, in Oakley Square, should definitely be on your Small Business Saturday itinerary.
King Arthur’s Court is an independent toy store. It’s been a fixture in Oakley for well over 30 years. It specializes in traditional toys and collectibles, educational or imaginative toys, and imported brands.
The one thing you won’t find there? Video games. King Arthur’s Court has always prided itself on stocking toys that encourage children’s creativity and natural excitement.
King Arthur’s Court is offering a 15 percent discount to shoppers through Small Business Saturday. So, make sure you get there this week!
Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore
Just up Madison Road from King Arthur’s is a quaint little bookshop that you and your grandkids will both love to spend some time in this Small Business Saturday.
The choice of a manatee mascot was intentional. Like the gentle Florida sea mammal, Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore views itself as something special-but-vulnerable in an increasingly digitized world.
But that’s exactly why it exists.
Its founding was specifically, “fueled by a desire to revive an endangered place for families to explore the wonderful world of ideas,” wrote its owners, who saved the former Blue Marble independent bookstore just two days before it was set to close its doors, then renamed it the Blue Manatee.
“We embrace the glorious analog brain, and the importance of reading, conversation, and real-world experience for children to reach their full potential,” they said.
Blue Manatee is a destination. It hosts a children’s story time every Tuesday – Sunday at 10 a.m. It hosts author visits and book signings. And it features a curated selection of books. Far from overwhelming you, the stacks will help you discover the perfect book to give a special grandchild this holiday.
Skip out on Amazon this Small Business Saturday. Make a trip to the Blue Manatee and keep alive the dream of a little, independent bookstore, where kids can meet and explore imagination together.
Plaid Room Records
You know that vinyl records have made a big comeback, right? They have, so it’s time to dust off your old turntable and head on over to Loveland’s Plaid Room Records this holiday season.
Plaid Room is owned by Terry Cole — a former biology teacher at Middletown High School — and his brother Bob. They’ve been a busy fixture of the Historic Loveland retail scene since 2012.
The Cole brothers’ father was a musician and instilled in them a love of classic rhythm and blues, funk and soul music. In 2007, they started their own classic soul-sound label — Colemine — and achieved enough success with it that Terry eventually quit his job and undertook his lifelong dream to build his own record store.
You’ll find plenty of new and used record selection in the store and, if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, you might just catch a live performance; touring bands occasionally play the in-store stage for throngs of enthralled listeners.
Moreover, the Coles are just nice guys. At some retailers, no one will chat with you. They will. And they’ll help you discover music that you didn’t know you needed in your collection.
Whether you’re shopping for an older grandchild who’s seriously into tunes, or just want to peruse and relive the fun of browsing the stacks, the way you did when you were a teenager, Plaid Room is worth the trip.
These are just three of hundreds of options you have for supporting small businesses this holiday.
Wherever you shop this Small Business Saturday, make sure it’s a locally-owned, independent retailer. If you go out to eat, try a locally-owned, independent restaurant. Use this map to find shops and restaurants near you that are participating.
Mega retailers like Amazon and Walmart won’t miss you is you ditch them for a day. Remember, the folks who own Cincinnati’s local businesses are our neighbors and friends. And they employ our neighbors and friends. Let’s help them succeed.
This Small Business Saturday, keep the cash right here in the Tristate, seniors. Support your local business owner.