Today big day for thinking small

A Franklin candy shop will sell twice as many goodies today as they do on what is typically considered one of the busiest shopping day of the year.

At M.W. Wadsworth & Co. Fine Chocolates on East Jefferson Street in Franklin, dozens of customers will walk in today to buy stocking stuffers and holiday treats they can’t get anywhere else, such as the store’s peppermint bark and chocolate-covered espresso beans, owner Barbara Kinsey said.

In the past couple of years, Small Business Saturday has grown as a tradition among both shops and customers. Every year, Kinsey opens on Black Friday, but she knows to expect to sell way more — about 1,500 items — the next day.

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express. Last year, more than 1,450 stores participated nationwide. Stores can register to receive free bags, pins, stickers and other items that encourage customers to shop small.

Today, local businesses will offer discounts or raffle prizes in honor of the annual tradition. Small Business Saturday has become more popular in recent years, and now local shops say they use the day to thank the customers who shop there throughout the year.

Small Business Saturday

established a designated day for residents to stop by their favorite local shops and support the local economy, CJ’s Consignments owner Connie Carson said.

Her store normally makes about 45 transactions per day but expects about 100 transactions today. Her shop will have items on sale for 50 percent off, joining other small businesses throughout Johnson County that have special deals or events happening during the day, Carson said.

In addition to special sales today, Middle Davids Artisan Candles in downtown Franklin will have demonstrations of a weaving loom throughout the day, and local author Dick Wolfsie will be there from 2 to 4 p.m. to autograph copies of his books.

Customers tell owner Tauria Catlin that they specifically visit their favorite Johnson County stores on Small Business Saturday to show their love for local products. Catlin tries to have as much of her

products be as local as

possible. At least 30 percent of items in the store are from Johnson County artists, while 60 percent of her merchandise is from Indiana.

Last year’s Small Business Saturday was the best one-day sales in the history of the Middle Davids, Catlin said.

Kinsey prepares for the day three days in advance but also tries to offer candies and truffles larger stores don’t throughout the year. Some customers ask in August for certain holiday treats, like her macadamia nut polar bear candies, and Kinsey is happy to supply them with all of the Christmas candy they need. Local stores need to thrive, she said.

“If unique mom-and-pops are not shopped, they’ll no longer exist,” Kinsey said.

The Flower Market in Greenwood participated in Small Business Saturday for the first time last year. To mark the day, owner Jackie Poe offered a sale and found residents walking through the door to take a look around — not something Poe typically sees.

Most customers stop in with a purpose in mind, but last year people browsed there to look at the holiday decorations, she said.

Because of the success of last year’s sale, Poe is taking 20 percent off all holiday decor in the store and promoted the sale earlier on the marquee outside the building and on the store’s Facebook page.

If customers spend their money at local stores, it will directly benefit the community, said Jennifer Hollingshead, sales association for J.L. Johnson fine jewelers in Greenwood.

“When customers shop with us, we’re able to continue helping nonprofits in the area,” Hollingshead said.

The jewelry store donated to Center Grove Elementary School’s Amer-a-thon fun run, Isom Elementary School’s spring fling, Roncalli Rebellion, Community Angels Fund and other groups this year thanks to local customers, she said.