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Small Business Saturday is almost here, and many local businesses are hopeful people will remember to support those that make the local economy what it is.
"We are so thankful for our customers that support us and shop small, rather than going to a big box store like Target or Walmart," said Mackenzie Smith with Smith's Candies, a third generation candy store in Myerstown.
Pennsylvania’s small businesses account for around 98 percent of the state’s overall business, according to The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers.
Small businesses, which are defined as those that employ less than 500, make up 99.9 percent of all businesses in the country, according to the Small Business Administration.
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Big shopping numbers predicted this holiday season
In 2020, online shopping grew more than 30 percent over the previous year, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. That number is not expected to slow down anytime soon.
According to a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly 2 million more people than last year expected to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year.
The survey found 30.6 million plan to shop either in-store or online on Thanksgiving Day, 108 million on Black Friday, 58.1 million on Small Business Saturday, 31.2 million on Sunday and 62.8 million on Cyber Monday.
Local businesses hoping to attract shoppers
Local businesses are hoping to attract some of those shoppers on Nov. 27, but they might not have to try too hard.
A survey from Red Egg Marketing found that 83 percent of consumers say they would rather purchase from a local business than a large corporation, and 84 percent say they would pay more to support the local business.
Smith said Smith's Candies has seen an increase in shoppers this year.
"We offer those nostalgic candies that you can't get anywhere else, and we have loyal customers," she said. "We are just grateful to them all."
She added that the candy store doesn't have any solid plans for promotions, but they always participate in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
The store offers a wide range of products, such as American and German Gummy Bears, Swedish fish, Dried Fruit, Salted and Unsalted Nuts, chocolates and more. For customers who can't make it to the store, shipping is available for anywhere in the United States.
You can visit them online at loc8nearme.com/pennsylvania/myerstown/smiths-candies/4867552/ or in-store at 114 W. Lincoln Ave., Myerstown.
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Another candy store that's seeing sustained business, Wertz Candies, is located in downtown Lebanon. They offer homemade Opera Fudge, creamy vanilla fudge coated in a smooth dark chocolate shell, other homemade chocolates, classic homemade caramel corn and more.
Owner Richard Wertz said they are more worried about having enough staff for Small Business Saturday, but they are confident they will have customers.
"Saturdays are usually a good day, no matter the promotions," he said.
Wertz Candies also ships. You can visit them online at wertzcandies.com or at their Lebanon store at 718 Cumberland St., Lebanon.
Shop local for something unique
One reason people are choosing to shop local this year is because of the unusual items they can find at their area mom-and-pop shops. Lebanon County has many of these to offer, and as the busiest shopping weekend of the year approaches, many will be announcing various promotions and sales. Some of those include:
Black Swan Antiquities- 61 W. Front St., Palmyra
With over 60 dealers under one roof, Black Swan Antiquities has something for everyone. Before heading over to this antique shop in Palmyra, be sure you have lots of time to browse the wide variety of collectibles, antiques and more.
The Tweed Weasel- 1148 Heidelberg Ave. - Upper Level, Schaefferstown
Have an art lover to shop for? Find original pieces at The Tweed Weasel. Their 3,000-square-foot gallery features folk art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, holiday pillows, Christmas ornaments, wreaths and more.
The Aegean Table- 849 Oak St., Lebanon
Know a foodie who would love the gift of Greek food? The Aegean Table is a specialty food store featuring a variety of oils, vinegars, olives, honey, baklava and other Greek foods. This community-centered restaurant encourages shoppers to stop by and see them for Small Business Saturday.
"Supporting small is important because it's supporting your neighbors, and building your community," co-owner Rita Vranesic said.
Carriage House Style- 75 W. Main St., Lebanon
Carriage House Style has planned something special for this years’ Small Business Saturday. At their Lebanon location from 9 a.m to 3 p.m., they will have pictures with Santa, homemade pastries, gift giveaways, jewelry-making and more. Later in the day, from 2 to 6 p.m., join Carriage House for food trucks, Bungalow 717 cigars and Under the Bridge hard cider.
Owner Jane Schott-Yorty started her store on Small Business Friday three years ago and says supporting small is incredibly important.
“Small businesses are truly the landscape of your community, and if those go away your landscape is drastically changed. I think through the pandemic, everyone has seen how important it is to support local.”
Her store offers handmade jewelry, candles, wall and home décor as well as locally made fashion created by over 30 artists in Lebanon.
Gift cards are still popular gifts
Gift cards remain a favorite gifting option, according to the National Retail Federation survey, with spending on gift cards expected to total $28.1 billion this year. Shoppers plan to buy an average three-four cards this year at an average $48.92 per card, including restaurant cards, department store cards, bank-issued gift cards and coffee shop cards.
One shop in Lebanon that offers gift cards is Sydney Roasting Co. This small coffee shop, located at 720 Quentin Road, Suite 3, offers a variety of coffee drinks, desserts, breakfast sandwiches, salads and merchandise like French Press coffee makers, T-shirts, mugs and bags of local coffee to brew at home.
Purchase a gift card online at sydneyroastingco.com/products/sydney-roasting-co-gift-card.
You can ask other restaurants or coffee shops if they offer gift cards or certificates to easily support small and give a gift that will be used.
This article originally appeared on Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon County offers perks for Small Business Saturday