Zionsville Chamber Launches Small Business Weekend Event
Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided by Mariah Krafft and the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce
Zionsville is famous for its quaint, brick-lined streets and local purveyors. Each year the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce hosts a Small Business Saturday event. This year they’ve added two days to the event, calling it Small Business Weekend. The event is November 26 through 28.
“Last year we celebrated Small Business Saturday, and people loved it,” says Allyson Gutwein, executive director of the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce. “They were so excited to support our businesses and restaurants that we wanted to make sure that people understood the importance of shopping locally, not just one day a year, but really the importance of shopping locally all holiday season. We wanted to make sure that we were going to get people kicked off on the biggest shopping day of the year by Black Friday, and continue that momentum through the entire weekend.”
Participating businesses include restaurants, boutiques and service-based companies.
“We’re excited about the change in adding extra days this year because we know many people will want to shop earlier this year,” Gutwein says. “We hear shipping delays could cause consumers issues. What better way to get a gift that doesn’t have to ship than by visiting a local business?”
Aside from physical items, gift recipients can unwrap gift ideas like a weekend away.
“We’d be happy to suggest how to make a specific gift idea happen,” Gutwein says. “For instance, if you want to gift a staycation, the package could include a gift from a local salon, followed by dinner at Brick Street, and wine from Hopwood Cellars Winery. There are so many ways to create your own gift and still shop local.”
For every dollar spent in Zionsville, 70% of it stays local, which is a win for all.
“We started focusing on Small Business Saturday just a few years ago, and people have really embraced it because we do have so many small businesses,” Gutwein says. “We are 83% small business here in the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce. People love knowing that we have businesses here that are different and unique. It draws people here from other areas to find those unique businesses, and we want to keep them coming back during the holiday season. During the holiday season, there is so much more purposeful giving, as I call it. Let’s make sure those dollars that are destined towards being spent on others stay local.”
Each day the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce will give away shopping totes to participants.
“Bags might contain Zionsville Chamber or Commerce gift cards or merchant gift cards to encourage people to shop,” Gutwein says. “We want not only people from Zionsville participating, but people who live in other areas as well. It’s a fantastic community. If we can get people shopping here during the holidays, what are the odds they’ll come back for a weekend girls trip or a trip with their family?”
Participants are spread throughout the entire city of Zionsville, not just the iconic brick streets of downtown.
“We wanted to make sure that if there’s a member of a business that is located at Boone Village, or down on Main Street, or over on Michigan Road, all of those businesses feel supported,” Gutwein says.
Zionsville Olive Oil has participated since the year the owners opened the store.
“This year we’re going to feature some Christmas gift ideas,” says Angie McCloskey, co-owner of Zionsville Olive Oil. “We will pair popcorn with some of our different oils. We also have a recipe pairing where we’ll feature an olive oil and balsamic vinegar to go with a specific protein. The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce does a great job spotlighting Zionsville. We support the Chamber so they can support us.”
Erica Carpenter owns Fivethirty Home, a home decor and painted-furniture store. She also serves as Chamber president.
“It’s important for people to shop locally because when you support small businesses in Zionsville, it enables us to support the community,” Carpenter says. “I try to support many local organizations. When you’re supporting and putting money into a local business, it enables us to choose a local organization to support in return.”
Carpenter makes Small Business Weekend more than just a shopping experience for customers.
“I try to make it an enjoyable weekend,” Carpenter says. “We’ll have some demos, giveaways, and food and drinks. We often see groups coming out shopping together on that weekend. We want it to be an experience for our customers. It’s a great time for the community to support us, but it’s also a great time for me to show my appreciation to those who support us all year long.”
For more information, visit zionsvillechamber.org.