Small biz Saturday a success locally
LIMA, Nov 25, 2012 (Menafn - The Lima News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Even though flurries whirled through the air Saturday morning and temperatures hit below freezing, that didn't stop hundreds of shoppers from participating in Small Business Saturday in downtown Lima.
One of those shoppers was Amy Sheldon, from Hardin County. She was shopping at Nitza's on Saturday because she said she loves the customer service and the selection.
"I love shopping at small businesses like this one because it keeps the money in the area," Sheldon said. "And I hadn't been in here for a while to talk to the girls, so I figured there's no better day to do it."
And Nitza's co-owner, Elizabeth Leis, said its those kinds of customers her business thrives on, but the area is starting to see new and unique customers with the addition of the Met wine bar and with the revival of the Met block.
"This whole concept of the Met Block is what's been so unique for us. It's been turning back into how downtown Lima used to be. We've been here on this corner for almost 20 years and Pears Avenue has been here for one year and the Met is now 3 weeks old. And we've had such a variety of people," Leis said. "I think sometimes the people of Lima don't realize how many people we get from out of town and Lima sometimes doesn't appreciate what Lima has. Sometimes it's the out-of-town people that come here and realize 'Wow, we can do all of this.'"
Owner of the brand new wine bar and restaurant called The Met, Rob Nelson, echoed her thoughts. Nelson said he built his business in downtown Lima because he believes it's the epicenter of commerce and culture, and all are welcome.
"Our goal, my wife and I, in terms of our development, is to take these great edifices that our grandparents and our great-grandparents built, and to show the younger generation that we don't need to disregard those," he said, pointing to the bar. "I mean this copper is over 120- years-old, those radiators are probably 80- or 90- years old, but you say they look so beautiful. That's right, we don't have to throw everything from our past away, but we can create new spaces that are different than the old spaces.
"Sears and Macys, they're not coming down here, they're going to stay by the mall," he added. "But here in downtown, you'll get a number of locally owned businesses, all where the dollar trickles through here three or four times. Why? Because our accountant is down the street. I buy our gas here. We see council members every day and we donate to local charities. That dollar stays here and is used again and used again."
And as far as a turnout for Small Business Saturday, Leis said her store was busy in the morning, but business lulled in the afternoon, more than likely because of the Ohio State University vs. Michigan rivalry football game.
"We have had a great turnout. We typically haven't been open the Friday after Thanksgiving because everybody was shopping at the big box retailers. So we didn't used to be open," she said. "Maybe about four or five years ago, as the Small Business Saturday started to evolve, we started to be open and it has been worth our while ever since. We've been really busy all morning."
Ruth Ann Stover, co-owner of Meeting Place on Market, said earlier in the day, there were people who came into the shop with the Small Business Saturday cards.
"This morning, there were a lot of people in with the cards, getting stickers," she said. "But with it being the same day as the Ohio State-Michigan game, we knew it would be dead come noon."
The cards she's talking about are shopping passes that were available that day. As customers visited the shops, they could present the pass and get a special sticker from each location. Once a customer had stickers from at least nine of the retailers, it could be turned in for a prize drawing.
But if you didn't make it out Saturday, there's still time to shop small businesses in downtown Lima. Winners for the drawing will be picked Dec. 22, and there are three prizes up for grabs.
The first is a family fun and games package. That package offers a Sunpak 8001 UT Tripod from Mack Camera, worth 60; collector's edition Spider-Man Monopoly game, a Wonder Woman bag and a gift card from Alter Ego Comics, worth 50 apiece; plus a gourmet coffee and chocolate gift basket from The Meeting Place on Market.
The second prize, a shopping spree package, features a 50 gift certificate from Don Jenkins Jewelry; Nitza's Boutique; Hofeller, Hiatt and Clark, and The Met.
The third package is a trendy shopper package, which includes unique home and items from Pears Avenue, worth 50; plus a 50 gift card each from David's Finery, Vivace Cafe and ArtSpace Lima.
Holiday shopping passes can be picked up at participating retailers or downloaded at http://j.mp/TVWUWT. Completed passes must be turned in by Dec. 21 at the Civic Center Business Office, 7 Town Square, in Lima. The office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
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