Tacoma storeowners bank on Small Business Saturday to kick off holiday season

Small business owners are banking on Small Business Saturday to get the holiday season started on a good note. 

The National Retail Federation says holiday sales grew by 14% from the year 2020 to 2021. Local business owners are hoping that shoppers turn out in larger numbers in 2022.

Small business owners at Freighthouse Square in Tacoma say they are looking for a boost following two slow years of the pandemic, and they hoped Small Business Saturday brings those shoppers back.

"Small Business Saturday is extremely important because we are a family business," said Noelle Wilson, co-owner of Painting Panda Pottery Studio in Freighthouse Square.

Wilson says customers are creating more than art for Small Business Saturday.

"This is a really magical time to have a place like this, because people are creating memories," she said. "It’s my husband and I, and we are just now starting to be able to employ other folks, so when you support a small business, you are supporting families, so we are being able to provide for their family as well."

In order to pay it forward, Noelle is also supporting a pop-up book store at the studio this weekend.

"We had it paid forward, so we want to pay it forward too," said Wilson.

"Small Business Saturday is really important for all the small businesses, the locally-owned ones in Tacoma," said Rachel Trignano, owner and founder of Lucky Duck Book Shop. "We are a children’s bookshop, just started this year."

Trignano is running pop-ups all over Tacoma for the holiday season. Saturday she was set up outside the pottery studio in Freighthouse Square. 

"It’s just a better shopping experience you know, it’s not the big box stores, and you know that you are supporting your neighbors it’s a pretty awesome thing," said Trignano. "You can also shop online at Bookshop.org through my link, so you can still shop locally while shopping online."

At Dorcas House Women Empowered in Freighthouse Square, Miss Schaffer hopes this holiday season brings in more foot traffic.

"We made it through COVID and we are still standing, and it’s still on shaky ground," said Miss Schaffer, the owner and operator of Dorcas House Women Empowered.

She says the store is part of a ministry, donating clothes for free to those in need.

"We have after-five items. Most of our items are dress items, church clothing, dress hats gloves, purses, jewelry," she said. "We have very high-end clothing, brand name clothing. Everything is gently worn or brand new."

Those who shop at Dorcas House Women Empowered help to pay the rent for the not-for-profit and allow the all volunteer staff to continue the mission.

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"Please come shop with us. If you know of anybody who needs help, you don’t have to have money to shop in our store," said Miss Schaffer.

"It’s got heart, and it’s people ran for people. That’s why you should shop small business," said Paul, Dorcas House Women Empowered volunteer.