Small Business Saturday

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday. It’s a day dedicated to patronizing local businesses in our great Delaware County communities.

Many people think it’s a relatively new invention, but it’s not.

The first Small Business Saturday was actually celebrated in ancient Greece in the year . . . well, I’m not sure of the year, but it was a long time ago.

Hermes the Bookseller was at the agora in one of those city-states, maybe Athens or Sparta. Who knows? The exact location has been lost to history. Anyway, he was lounging in his toga and enjoying a wine and a baklava with a couple of friends when he saw a giant box store had opened – Papyrus & Stuff. He was outraged.

“Do you think Zeus is going to be happy that our countrymen are spending their hard-earned drachmas with a faceless company with no connection to the community?” he asked. “Watch out for the lightning bolts coming down from Mt. Olympus. Is this store going to send a runner to your house to announce the arrival of the newest book by your favorite philosopher? In the name of Socrates, I’d say not.”

Thus, Hermes organized the first Small Business Saturday, which he abbreviated to Sigma Beta Sigma, or SBS.

True story. Or, mostly true.

Anyway, if you’re looking to make a papyrus, or book, purchase this SBS, you can find two excellent independent book stores in Delaware County. Check out Beanbag Books at 25 W. Winter St. in Delaware, and Griffeys’ Book Emporium at 4 Troy Road in Delaware.

The concept of Small Business Saturday spread out from the steps of the Acropolis around the world. In fact, true story, it spread to the deepest regions of the South American rain forest. A local businesswoman was preparing her apparel and gift shop for the Christmas holiday on the banks of a major river, maybe the Amazon, when a long-time customer came in and announced that she was doing all her shopping online.

“Online!” yelled the store owner. “Does your precious online merchant treat you to cookies and wine when you walk into their store? Oh, wait, you can’t walk into their store, can you? Come talk to me the next time you order a blouse and they send you a unicycle.”

There are, however, many great stores in Delaware County in which you can walk into to purchase apparel and gifts. Among those are The Sydney Collection at 49 N. Sandusky St. in Delaware; Peachtree Street Home at 87 W. Olentangy St. in Powell; Woodgate Home Store, 1520 Lewis Center Rd. in Lewis Center; Finn & Roe at 27 S. Liberty St. in Powell, or Goat Local at 57 N. Sandusky St. in Delaware.

Sadly, it would be many years before Small Business Saturday came to North American.

Time marched on and malls were invented, causing the decimation of many downtowns, and giant box stores were built on prime farm land and hundreds of thousands of endangered asphalt trees were melted down to create the parking lots.

Then, one day, Destination Delaware Executive Director Tim Wilson actually got lost amid the racks and racks of seasonal clothing at this particular box store. He called 9-1-1 and said, “For the love of God, I don’t need any more Ohio State or Cleveland Browns sweatshirts. Please help me. Get out of here alive, and I promise to start Small Business Saturday in Delaware County.”

And that’s how it began here.

True story.

Tim now boasts of the many unique, small businesses that shoppers can support this Small Business Saturday. For example, pick up some locally made sweets at Lohcally Artisan Chocolates at 77 W. Olentangy St. in Powell. (Lohcally/Locally – a coincidence? Hmmm.) You can get your zen on at the Zen Hen at its new coop at 37 S. Liberty St. in Powell or pick up some cool baby threads at the Dolce Vida Baby Boutique 6058 Glick Rd. in Shawnee Hills. Looking for something for our feathered friends, check out Buckeye Bird Supply at 4111 Stover Rd. in Ostrander. Check out Talula’s for gifts and décor at 29 Middle St. in Galena. Get your disc golf supplies at Slick Willy’s at 106 E. High St. in Ashley. Pick up your toys and LEGO supplies at Bedlam Bricks, 1230 E. Powell Rd. in Lewis Center.

By: Robin Yocum

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