Make your home page

Local creativity takes center stage on Small Business Saturday

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of blue “Shop Small” doormats and signs appeared Saturday morning outside central Indiana shops and restaurants, marking the start of Small Business Saturday 2018

The nationwide shopping event, first observed in November 2010, acts as a counterpart to Black Friday and encourages shoppers to support local brick-and-mortar businesses. 

Downtown Indianapolis store owners along Massachusetts Avenue called it the single biggest shopping day of the holiday season. Customers familiar with the tradition lined up in the rain before stores opened to collect free “swag bag” totes filled with coupons, gift certificates and snacks. 

Newly opened businesses also announced promotions and prepared for an influx of shoppers.

Customers began peering into “A ‘bit of Whimsy,” a gift boutique on North College Avenue in South Broad Ripple, hours before the store opened Saturday morning.

The three co-owners — Wilene Gillim, Rosemary Fowler and Linda Birch — described the business as a “permanent pop-up shop” and said they looked forward to their first Small Business Saturday. The shop features work from more than 20 local artists.

“The people we showcase all have a unique talent and add a different whimsical charm to our space,” Fowler told News 8. “They can rent an entire wall to display their products or just a shelf.” 

Rows of handmade cards, jewelry, soaps, bath products, candles, scarves, hats, toys and decorations lined the walls, including a rack of colorful masks crafted by a local artisan using homegrown gourds. Tucked beside the displays were biographies and business cards.

“Every item here has a story,” Fowler said with a smile. “And so do all the artisans. We want people to get to know them. That’s what today is all about.” 

Creative businesses too small to fill their own brick-and-mortar stores are able to reach new customers through the boutique’s “permanent pop-up” format and Small Business Saturday promotions.

One customer described A ‘bit of Whimsy as “dozens of real-life Etsy stores in one place.”

The boutique will offer classes led by various designers beginning in January, Fowler said, and continues seeking new artists and products on social media and in the community.

A ‘bit of Whimsy is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.