Shopping small: Several businesses planning for Saturday

Body: 

Small Business Saturday is on Saturday, Nov. 30, the day after Black Friday. It is a day dedicated to promote holiday shopping in local small businesses.

The promotion was started in 2010 by American Express to encourage community members to "shop small" in order to boost local economies.

Some small businesses are offering special incentives for customers who shop at their stores on Saturday. These incentives can range from a cup of coffee or cider and cookies to discounts on merchandise to free gift-wrapping.

"Most shops downtown are local, family-owned businesses," said Darlene Marshall of the Greater Downtown Council. "If you know what you're looking for, or need a little help, small business owners know their stock and are in the store to offer their assistance and expertise to find that perfect gift or service."

Marshall said many business owners who are members of the Downtown Council will be offering free classes, demonstrations, and workshops in honor of Small Business Saturday. She encourages shoppers to park in downtown ramps and leave their coats in their cars as they travel through the Skywalk without ever leaving the comfort of the indoors.

Here's what some local businesses told the Budgeteer what they think about the day and what they're planning to offer.

"It shows people what's going on right next door rather than just what's in the big-box stores up the hill," says Dan Neff about Small Business

Saturday.

Neff owns Lake Superior Art Glass, at 202 E. Superior St. On Small Business Saturday, Neff is offering one of the gallery's signature glass icicle ornaments with every $25 purchase. Classes on how to make glass ornaments will also be held in the gallery's studio on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"It's a great idea," says Tony Zappa, an employee at Lake Superior Art Glass, about Small Business Saturday, "especially in an area like the Twin Ports. It helps small businesses get more exposure."

One of the ways those businesses get exposure is by being listed on map on the American Express website. By going to www.shopsmall.com, you can find maps of small businesses and search by address, city or zip code.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," says Kelly Yetter, co-owner of Lotus on the Lake, a boutique selling gifts, ornaments and health and beauty products in the Fitger's complex at 600 E. Superior St. This is the first holiday season Lotus has been open. Yetter is looking forward to seeing more people out shopping locally. Her boutique is offering free gift wrapping and 20 percent off one regularly priced item.

Yetter's business, like many others, is also offering appetizers and beverages and holding an open house as a way of enticing customers. Fitger's complex will also feature open-house events with hot cocoa.

Jeffrey Schmidt, owner of Lizzards Art Gallery and Framing says that he looks at Saturday as a way to "welcome holiday shoppers."

"Every Saturday should be Small Business Saturday. Why wait for once a year? We're trying to revitalize Downtown. These stores won't survive without local support," says Tami LaPole Edmunds, co-owner of Art in the Alley, 230 E. Superior St.

Edmunds runs two shops that focus on items made locally. She says that about 75 percent of her store's offerings are items made by her. A lot of what she does is "upcycling," which means she takes parts of old items and reworks them to create something new. On Saturday, she is offering free handmade earrings with every $25-

purchase. Her store is also collecting non-perishable food items throughout the holiday months.

Quite a few of the small businesses that run along Superior Street are boutiques and artisan shops. However, if you're searching for something a bit geekier this Saturday, Rogue Robot Games & Comics at 3 S. Fourth Ave. W. can help you find what you need.

"Most of us who work here know a lot about this stuff, so we can give suggestions on what to get your geek family member or friend," says store owner Ryan Fleming. Fleming says Small Business Saturday is "a great thing" because "it gives small businesses a chance to shine."

"I used to work in retail on Black Fridays," says Fleming. "So I know how crazy it gets and how small businesses can get passed over."

In the West End

If you're looking for something in the Lincoln Park area, Frost River has partnered with other small businesses nearby to offer some "outdoor fun." Starting at 9 a.m. there will be a blacksmithing demonstration by Paul Webster from Forging Community, treats from Duluth Grill, pizza from Clyde Iron Works, warm beverages from Duluth Coffee Company, samples from Bent Paddle Brewing Company and tours through the Frost River workshop.