Marion City Councilman Kai Meade is dusting off his walking shoes with summer just around the corner.
Over the coming weeks, Meade, D-1st Ward, will be going from door-to-door to talk with the community. While in the past he’s done this for his campaigns, this time he’s raising awareness for Small Business Appreciation Day.
“It’s just fun doing the leg work,” Meade said. “There’s probably less-calorie-burning ways to support small businesses, but I think this is kind of what we need from a pandemic standpoint [which is] someone willing to go into business-to-business, explain it and try to create a grassroots support system.”
From June 17 through June 19, consumers in Marion are encouraged to buy from local small businesses. This marks the second year for Small Business Appreciation Day after it was approved by the City Council.
The idea, Meade said, is to give the community a reason to go out and support all of the businesses in Marion, especially after they battled through a challenging year brought on by the pandemic.
This year’s Small Business Appreciation Day comes with a twist.
Meade said the event went over well with businesses last year, but the main thing he heard from many of them was: why not make it longer? In light of that, Meade expanded the event from one day to three so everyone could get in on the action.
While there will be no events held at a central location throughout the weekend, each day could come with a theme, said Meade. On June 17, Meade said he’d like to see it dedicated to shopping for Father’s Day since it’s just three days later. The second day, Meade wants to focus on women-owned businesses.
“I think we should also focus on the fact that Marion has a lot of fantastic small business owners that are women; especially downtown,” Meade said.
Among them is Brave New Women, a boutique for women, as well as Paula’s Posh Picks, a consignment store that opened this year.
With the third day, June 19, Meade wants it to be for Black-owned businesses. June 19, also known as Juneteenth, which commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.
Meade said he’s been working closely with Tara Dyer, former educator and current advocate, on how his event can run alongside her plans for Juneteenth.
This three-day weekend event is also a chance for Meade to spread the word via Facebook about different businesses participating. In May, he began sharing posts about businesses such as Magnifique, a store specializing in body and bath products, and Team Sherman Creations, a do-it-all type store that smokes barbequed meats on the weekend as well as selling custom-designed t-shirts.
For Meade, these Facebook posts not only show the community businesses in the area, it also highlights the people behind those businesses. He believes that this can show the community that their neighbors are working hard in the city and lead to better relationships between consumers and business owners.
“I think it’s important to kind of spread it out and really get people talking about the event, talking about the businesses and find out the face behind these small businesses because at the end of the day, it’s mostly our neighbors,” Meade said.
Dottie McGinty and Hope Crossing, whose Christian bookstore is located on 187 W. Center St., said she is excited for the three-day event and is hopeful it will attract a large crowd to her store.
“We have decor and music and books and Bibles,” McGinty said. “You name it, we’ve got it.”
When the pandemic first hit Ohio last year, McGinty said she was one of the many businesses who were forced to shut down amid the restrictions. It proved to be a slow year for her bookstore as she relies heavily on foot traffic for sales inside the store.
Since the start of this year, however, she said things have been picking back up and returning to normal. With COVID-19 restrictions also being lifted in the last few weeks, McGinty said she’s seen an uptick in sales for graduation parties, birthday parties and other social gatherings.
To capitalize on the momentum and make the most out of the Small Business Appreciation Day, McGinty is planning on a basket giveaway, with products from the store. Anyone who makes a $25 purchase in the store has the chance to enter their name and a winner will go home with Christian-themed products.
Story by Mitch Hooper | (740)-244-9935 | email@example.com | @_MH16 on Twitter