Photographs and story by Joelle Connors
Regional Economic Development Partnership
Few words signal the start of the holiday shopping season like Black Friday. Created by the big box chain stores to jump start consumer spending, it has been pushed back further and further in recent years – and has nearly taken over our dinner tables with 4 o’clock openings – on Thursday.
We must ask ourselves – why?
Why are we rushing away from the dinner table at a time when we just gave thanks for our abundance? To grab a 70 inch television for $59.99?
Let’s all take a collective breath and relax. We literally shut down our lives, even if briefly, to spend time with our friends and families. So what if we could extend that slow-pace relaxing and enjoyable time together by one more day?
Well, we can.
Small Business Saturday is a national movement that started a mere four years ago. The idea is to shop ‘small’ at our local stores on the day after the coveted Black Friday. More than 1,400 cities and towns participated last year, including Wheeling. How does it work? Simply. Think local, shop local, and experience your town. Whether it’s Main Street in New Martinsville, Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, Elm Terrace in Elm Grove, Warwood, Woodsdale, or Centre Market – our area is full of choices to satisfy our shopping needs.
More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to spend time exploring the area and gives way to extended quality time with friends and family. Why shop small? By shopping at small businesses, you support local police, fire, and municipalities and their ability to provide services. Snow removal in February and subsequent street paving in the spring are supported by local tax dollars. When you shop small, your money is put to work locally.
What to do? Need some ideas on where to start? Think about it like this. Grab your friends and/or family with a plan to spend the day around town. Grab a cup of coffee at Wheeling Coffee (or Centre Cup or any of your choice!), stop in the Wheeling Nailers office for some merchandise for that hockey fan on your list then head to River City for lunch. While you’re there, stop by The Wheeling Artisan Center for some great locally-made products. Got a wine enthusiast in the family? Meander down to Good Mansion Wines or Casa di Vino for a great bottle of red. If you don’t know how to purchase wine, don’t worry! Pick up a gift certificate!
Are there a lot of kids in your extended family? Ways to shop for multiple kids at once is by purchasing a year-long membership to The Children’s Museum or the Good Zoo. Guess what? These places have reciprocity with other children’s museums and zoos (like Pittsburgh and Cleveland) so your gift keeps on giving all year!
Think about your Christmas shopping list.
Then think about where you could find those items locally. Get creative and think outside the big box. Shop Small and experience Wheeling.
Small Business Saturday is November 29, 2014.