Small Business Saturday brings out shoppers in Oakmont, New Kensington |
Valley News Dispatch

Small Business Saturday brings out shoppers in Oakmont, New Kensington

Emily Balser
Kathy Greene and Janet Pernazza, both of Freeport, enjoy shopping in Oakmont at last year's Small Business Saturday. This year's event will be held on Nov. 25.
Greensburg is one of many local communities planning to participate in this year's Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 25.
Jason Bridge | Trib Total Media
Emily McAfoose (left) of Ford City and her mother, Darcy, stop for a break from Black Friday shopping in the food court at Pittsburgh Mills mall. The pair started at 10:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night and shopped through the night into the morning on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Bethany Stanley, 31, of Youngstown, Ohio, tries to stay awake while her family shops at the Mall at Robinson, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Stanley's family left Youngstown at 9:30 on Thursday night and shopped through the night and into the next day to take advantage of Black Friday sales in the Pittsburgh area.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Lily Schmadel, 13, pushes two large stuffed bears away as friends Josh Winkowski and Shane Welty, both 14 of Hempfield, tease her while resting on a bench during Black Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield.
The holiday windows are decorated in a festive, quirky way at Berk's Menswear & Tuxedo Shop in North Huntingdon. The store is celebrating its 100th anniversary and will be filled with new merchandise for Black Friday shoppers looking for that perfect, special occasion suit or must-have accessory.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Jennifer Vernon-Garcia and her husband, Marco, sample some of the items from LuLaRoe by Nessa Gregg while they do some holiday shopping at the Apothecary Soap Co. in New Kensington during Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Kim Hinkle, master trainer at Tight-N-Tone Fitness Studio, leads a tire slam workout session during Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, in New Kensington.

New Kensington residents Richard and Barbara Grance prefer to shop local when they can, so Small Business Saturday was an event right up their alley.

“We would prefer to have small businesses involved instead of going to the mall,” Richard Grance said.

The couple came out Saturday to Knead Community Café on Fifth Avenue to have a meal and support a local business. Earlier in the day they visited local businesses in Arnold.

“I think there’s more of a (sense of) pride,” Grance said about shopping local. “It’s theirs and they want to make a good impression.”

The café is one of more than 6,700 across the nation that signed up to be “Neighborhood Champions” — holding events and promotions to draw attention to the importance of shopping locally.

“We’re small, but mighty,” said Mary Bode, co-founder of Knead Community Café.

In addition to Small Business Saturday, about a dozen New Kensington businesses participated in the first-ever Sips & Sweets event, which offered free desserts and drinks to patrons.

The idea was put into motion by Autumn Walker, who owns Apothecary Soap Co. on Fifth Avenue. She modeled the event after a similar effort in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

“The locals just come out,” she said. “They show great support.”

Walker had seen about 25 customers in two hours on Saturday.

“That’s pretty busy for us,” she said.

Many shoppers on Saturday got a complimentary “shop small” bag that showcased their Small Business Saturday patronage of local businesses.

The scene in Oakmont

Hampton resident Diane Ellis was out in Oakmont getting some Christmas shopping done.

“We always like to support local businesses,” Ellis said. “You can find stuff that’s very unique.”

She visited women’s boutique Carabella as well as Goatfeathers Boutique for shoes and the Oakmont Olive Oil Co.

“We always love coming to shop here,” Ellis said.

Teresa Stitt, owner of Embroidery from the Heart on Allegheny River Boulevard in Oakmont, said she sees a steady flow of support all year long, but Small Business Saturday encourages more people to shop.

“A day like today brings it forward to people’s mind,” she said. “We all try to be unique enough that people come in and support us.”

This is Stitt’s seventh year in business. They make everything that’s sold in the shop including bags, clothing and other customizable gifts.

“We’ve had a great crowd,” she said.

Marci Wiggins, owner of Tight-N-Tone Fitness Studio on Fourth Avenue in New Kensington offered exercise demos for residents who may be interested in joining.

“I’m happy to be in on the resurgence of everything,” Wiggins said of opening her business in New Kensington. “We need the neighborhood support.”

New Kensington resident Olinka Bailey was out shopping Saturday. Although there are many empty storefronts in New Kensington, she appreciated the businesses that are trying to make the town a better place.

She recognized that the community is still reeling from the loss of New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw earlier this month.

“I think it’s a nice gesture,” she said. “I think it’s a good thing to show unity and togetherness.”

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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