A vibrant Village: Small business owners encourage locals to shop during Small Business Saturday

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Fivethirty Home owner Erica Carpenter works the cash register during the business’ holiday open house. (Photos by Anna Skinner)

Black Friday, with its steep discounts, is a wildly popular holiday season shopping day. But Zionsville Village businesses want shoppers to take advantage Nov. 30 of Small Business Saturday deals as well.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event founded by American Express in 2010. The mission is for consumers to support small businesses and communities the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Shoppers have spent an estimated $103 billion on Small Business Saturday its launch.

Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Board President Dan Rhodes said small business accounts for a large portion of the local economy.

“Small business is described as 500 employees or less, and that’s just the primary of our entire economy, so supporting local business is key,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the Village and Boone Village Shopping Center are hubs for small business, but he also those aren’t Zionsville’s only small business areas.

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Shopping on Small Business Saturday helps promote small businesses, such as those in the Village.

“Our chamber has members out in the Whitestown area and also along Michigan Road. There are lots of options in the whole greater Zionsville area,” he said. “Money spent locally helps the community thrive, and we think that’s very important. It’s absolutely critical for the overall community to shop locally.”

Besides benefiting the economy, Rhodes said shopping local provides a unique experience for consumers.

“One great value of small businesses is they offer one-of-a-kind, unique products, and it adds true character to a community,” Rhodes said. “That’s one of the important things that makes Zionsville a community of choice.”

Erica Carpenter, owner of Fivethirty Home, a small business on Main Street in Zionsville, encourages people to shop local year-round.

“I think we are really excited (for Small Business Saturday,” Carpenter said. “Now we have a coffee shop right next door (Roasted in the Village), and in our block there are a lot of different, unique businesses. (On Small Business Saturday), you can shop all day, have lunch and get a drink. It’s critical to keeping the Village vibrant and keeping small business an important part of Zionsville.”

Other than kicking off its month-long Christmas in the Village celebration with a parade the afternoon of Nov. 30, the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have a specific event planned to promote Small Business Saturday. Next year, that might change.

“One thing we are doing, if you are out for Small Business Saturday, is we are going to have a parade that day and also the tree lighting on the brick street, and those festivities will start at 5 p.m.,” Rhodes said. “We’ve gone back and forth, and probably next year you will really see us promote Small Business Saturday.”

Carpenter said approximately 5,000 people attend the Christmas in the Village kick-off, which attracts more shoppers to the Village. For more, visit zionsvillechamber.org.

A new executive director 

The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce recently announced that its new executive director, Allyson Gutwein, will begin her position later this month.

Allyson Gutwein

Gutwein is a familiar face in Zionsville, specifically the Village, as she was previously the manager of Midwest Jewelers on Main Street.

Gutwein serves as Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and was a Boone County Chamber of Commerce board member for six years.

“The chamber has and will continue to play a unique and dynamic role in the advancement of a positive image for our town and advocacy for our membership,” she said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead the chamber in engaging our membership, local government leaders and critical community partners to deliver our shared vision for a prosperous Zionsville.”