Local stores see uptick of Small Business Saturday shoppers

A NRF survey said 34.7 percent of people shopped on Small Business Saturday -- up 5.3 percent from 2015

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Right across the street from major department stores on 224 in Boardman, you’ll find 850 Blues.

It’s a woman’s clothing boutique that Kristen Mancini started six years ago.

“We like to keep money local in our community,” she said. “It grows our community.”

Mancini said the store had its biggest success with Small Business Saturday this year, as many loyal customers and new faces took advantage of 20 percent of their entire purchase.

“A lot of them actually said they wanted to make a point to shop local,” she said.

A National Retail Federation survey found that 154 million people shopped this Thanksgiving weekend — up from 151 million people last year. Even more, the NRF survey said 34.7 percent of people shopped on Small Business Saturday (up 5.3 percent from 2015).

That statistic was recognized by most of the businesses in the Valley, especially those that advertised through multiple platforms.

Down 224 in Boardman, several businesses got together to form a ‘Shop Small Youngstown’ team to help each other advertise and get more customers for the big day.

“You might be from out-of-town coming in and finding all of these new locations that weren’t there last time you were through,” said Matt Campbell of Branch Street Coffee. “So it helps us all come together and unite behind one cause.”

Campbell also saw a lot of new customers.

“They discover us, so now maybe instead of waiting in-line at a drive through every morning, maybe they’ll come through here and see that we have really high-quality products,” Campbell said. “And it won’t take them as long as they would sitting in a line anyways.”

Most of the businesses had special deals lined up for the day.

But at Vintage Estates, they said Small Business Saturday is also about the local atmosphere.

“A lot of folks were from the area originally, moved out of town [and] came back to the area,” Ryan Adams of Vintage Estate said. “Youngstown’s kind of like a small town even though it’s a bit bigger. Everyone loves their local businesses, so everyone usually stops back here.”