Zionsville celebrates Small Business Saturday with a whole weekend of events

Christmas parade spectators got a glimpse of Santa’s reindeer in 2018. The parade was canceled in 2019 because of weather and in 2020 because of COVID-19.

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. More than 47% of the U.S. workforce is employed by businesses that have less than 500 employees.

To support this sector of the economy, American Express financial services company launched Small Business Saturdays in 2010 to remind Christmas shoppers of the local alternative. Always planned the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the hype is wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Allyson Gutwein, executive director for the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, said this year is crucial for the survival of many local retailers.

“So many people are coming off a tough year in 2020,” Gutwein said of the importance of the purpose. “We want to start setting the new precedent for being able to keep our businesses through tough times, right? We want to make sure people have small businesses front of mind whenever they have buying options.”

Not surprisingly, local dollars spent at local businesses stay in the local economy, but Gutwein said it bears repeating.

“For every dollar that’s spent, about 68 cents of that directly comes back into the community,” she said. “A small business is disproportionately paying more into a community than larger businesses, especially big box retail.”

The chamber will be out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Friday, Saturday and Sunday handing out goody bags to shoppers visiting village merchants as a way to gain interest.

Saturday is also the Christmas in the Village Parade and Town Tree Lighting at 5 p.m. There will also be photos with Santa and other celebrations including a gift wrap weekend Dec. 4 and a Ladies Night Dec. 9. For a complete listing of events, visit the website at business.zionsvillechamber.org/calendar.

Gutwein said this year’s push is crucial as these businesses go into 2022.

“We don’t know what COVID will bring in 2022,” she said. “We don’t know what the weather will bring. Those are all factors when it comes to a tough start to a new year.”

Another option for locally-purchased gifts are business services, Gutwein said, especially for the entrepreneur on your gift list. She suggest new headshots or the opportunity to work with a business coach or a consultation with an attorney.

“Those are all great gifts and a lot of people like these very practical, very business minded gifts,” she said.

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 27.

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