As shoppers bombarded stores as early as Thursday evening for Black Friday sales and others shopped online for Cyber Monday deals, local shops celebrated Small Business Saturday as a way to promote businesses in town and encourage people to shop local. Many of Hillsdale’s local businesses participated with special deals, extended hours and new merchandise.
The Small Town Sweet Boutique began the holiday season with special candy bouquets. Fall themed bouquets with orange bows, little leaves and fall-colored candies were created for Thanksgiving gatherings and now Christmas bouquets filled with reds and greens are available. Friday’s store hours have even been extended by two hours, now closing at 8 p.m. Kids can write letters to Santa and parents can store their sweet presents at the store for free.
“We’re kind of promoting to parents to have a couple hours to themselves to shop,” store owner Danielle Brock said. “We’ll be doing specials every weekend. We have bouquets for secret santas, colleges, teachers, coworkers, all that kind of stuff. Bouquets range anywhere from $10 and up. We still customize them as well for specific candy needs, hobbies or to fit certain personalities.”
Candy bouquets weren’t the only things undergoing transition during the sales weekend. Jane Stewart, the seventh owner of Smith’s Flowers, said she will be getting her flowers ready for the upcoming holidays.
“In flowers we definitely change from fall to Christmas,” she said. “It’s like our coolers are converted. They go from fall colors to the whites and reds of Christmas. As far as sales go, we will be discounting our fall stuff and are getting our Christmas arrangements ready.”
Michelle Wollet of Hillsdale Real Estate is a lifelong resident of Hillsdale. She has been in the real estate industry for 33 years and after working in for a large real estate corporation, she decided to move back and invest in her town.
“I decided to buy a downtown storefront so people could pop in, say hello and have a cup of coffee,” Wollet said. “I want it to be one of those towns where everyone knows who you are and can feel comfortable asking silly questions or serious questions.”
She said when she was growing up the downtown was a much bigger deal, as people would get dressed up on Fridays and go to town for dinners. But even though Hillsdale is changing, Wollet said she thinks the town has the right idea as it is becoming more of a destination for a day.
“Sometimes change is good,” she said. “We have a couple cute restaurants, the shops, and things like Toasted Mud. I just see a lot of positive things Hillsdale has to offer.”
As these businesses begin to grow, it encourages more businesses to move in, such at the Small Town Sweet Boutique and the Hillsdale Craft Supply which both opened in 2017. And with the coming of the renovated Keefer House hotel, Hillsdale has much to look forward to.
Hillsdale Craft Supply came to town in June. Store owner Shelley Mangus said she was hoping Small Business Saturday would help spread the word of her new store.
“We just want a god line of customers,” she said. “We’re new to town, so a lot of people still don’t know we’re here. We want the rest of the community to know we’re here.”
To promote her new business, Mangus offered a storewide sale. All crafting supplies were 20 to 50 percent off. In addition to this special Small Business Saturday sale, Hillsdale Craft Supply offers 20 percent off year-round to Hillsdale College students.
While several new stores have come to town, there are some that have been serving the community for decades, such as H.J. Gelzer’s Furniture. This store will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.
These small businesses help keep Hillsdale’s downtown alive. Events like Small Business Saturday and the Awesome Autumn event that happened earlier this fall bring local residents downtown and into the stores.
“It’s a great place to live and raise your family,” Wollet said. “It’s a great place to get all your necessities and other really cool little things.”