DARKE COUNTY — When Small Business Saturday started in 2010, it had shops like 4One Apparel in Arcanum in mind.
The faith-based boutique, located in the town of about 2,100 residents, doesn’t sit on a large main street that draws shoppers. It’s not located in a shopping center. But in six years what started as a small T-shirt shop has grown into a successful boutique.
“For a business like ours, honestly it is such a fun day,” said Mandy Flatter, co-owner of 4One Apparel along with Sara Waldo. “Our community is a little different than Greenville. They have lots of businesses lining the streets so there’s always, I feel like, a hustle and bustle going on in Greenville. This is one day we kind of have that in downtown Arcanum. We love to see the people out. It’s just fun to see the small businesses we have come together and do some promotions.”
Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express. The United States Senate passed a resolution supporting the day a year later. Since then consumers have spent nearly $140 billion on Small Business Saturday.
It’s estimated 108 million consumers shop or dine at local businesses during the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In 2017, nearly 48 percent of consumers who participated in Small Business Saturday visited a small business they had never been to before.
“Small Business Saturday is a wonderful way to show local brick and mortar businesses your support. But it’s also important to remember them year round, too,” said Greg Billing, executive director of the Darke County Visitors Bureau. “It’s a chance to discover new businesses and restaurants. Many of these business owners are active in the community and Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to say thank you.”
Flatter emphasizes that kind of support is even more important in 2021. The Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy estimates there are about 31.7 million small businesses in the United States. It’s also estimated 9.4 million small businesses closed from January 2020 through December 2020, many for good.
Like many businesses in Darke County, 4One Apparel plans door-buster promotions and extended hours on Nov. 27.
“Just remember the little guys and where we’ve been and what we’ve been through,” Flatter said of small business owners both county and nationwide. “I feel like we really feel (the support) on that day. That’s the important thing. Where ever you shop just try to think about those small businesses that have really weathered the storm this past year and a half. Just remember you are affecting somebody’s family and helping support them on that day.”