Twice as many downtown Bismarck businesses will participate in Small Business Saturday this year.
Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event that takes place the Saturday after Black Friday to encourage support of small businesses.
“I am a crazy supporter of anything local, anything downtown,” said Kinzey Whitty, owner of Koo Koo’s Nest at 114 N. Fifth St. and a first-year participant in Small Business Saturday.
The number of downtown Bismarck businesses participating in the event has gone from 17 last year to more than 30 this year, said Kate Herzog of the Downtown Business Association of Bismarck.
“I think it’s going to get very big,” she said. “It’s grown leaps and bounds each year.”
Herzog said a lot of new retailers have opened up downtown this year, which helped boost numbers. Also, as Small Business Saturday, now in its third year in Bismarck, gets bigger and more well known, more businesses are wanting to participate.
Herzog said one downtown retailer had better sales on Small Business Saturday than on Black Friday last year.
“I think part of it is what the event means — coming out to support locally owned,” Herzog said. “All businesses are important, but when you spend money at an independent locally owned business, money tends to stay more in the community.”
Several small businesses in other parts of Bismarck and Mandan will participate in the retail holiday as well.
Linda Mittlestadt, owner of Urban Girl at 2941 N. 11th St., said her store will be closed today and open only for Small Business Saturday because she would rather support shopping local. She said the event was less busy last year than in previous years at the store, but she had just moved into a new location.
Mandan kicks off its nearly month-long Holiday Shop Hop on Small Business Saturday with a parade by Santa and Mrs. Claus down Main Street at 10:45 a.m., Mandan Business Development Director Ellen Huber said.
Huber said participation in Holiday Shop Hop is down slightly this year in Mandan, with 15 businesses participating. The number of participants varies from year to year, she said.
Sue Hoffman, owner of Susie Q’s Craft Emporium at 411 W. Main St., has been a part of Small Business Saturday for three years.
“It’s something for people to do instead of going up to the big box stores,” she said. “I have a lot of handmade and Pride of Dakota items. It’s just something to support us small people.”
Hoffman said she will have yarn spinning and knitting demonstrations as well as repurposed antique decor demonstrations for the event.
Downtown visitors will be able to visit Santa from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harvest Grill, 308 W. Main St. There also will be wagon rides, caroling and a s’more making at the Mandan Progress Organization headquarters, 411 W. Main St. All activities are free.