Hamilton businesses all-in on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday in Hamilton is arguably one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season.

The day is part of the season-long Holly Jolly Hamilton as businesses up and down High and Main streets, and just off the main drag, will have special deals and promotions to encourage people to support small businesses.

While being a small business owner is hard work, for many, it’s fun to be in Hamilton nowadays.

“I think we’re really community-driven and our business owners are genuinely friends and work together,” said Wildfire Hygge Goods owner Sarah Dankhoff, who has locations at 226 High St. and 127 N. 2nd St. “I think anytime there’s any celebration or event that affects us all, it’s very natural for us to work together and collaborate. Pretty much all of us are small businesses in downtown Hamilton, and Saturday is one of those days, so of course we’re going to celebrate.”

As small businesses go, so does a community’s economy. It’s been long stated, and supported, that the backbone of America’s economy is the small businesses. According to a 2019 U.S. Small Business Administration report, nearly half of all economic activity in the country comes from mom-and-pop shops.

“Coming into the holidays, everybody’s looking for deals, big screen TVs and everything else, but it puts the focus back on small businesses, which is still the backbone of our economy and the backbone of America,” said Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Bates. “Small businesses are where it’s at, and I think it’s good to remind people of that.”

Shopping small, Bates said, also gives people a personalized touch, and the importance of supporting the local economy was highlighted just a couple of years ago during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, because, as Bates said, “We know since COVID how much people put everything on the line and the risk it takes to survive.”

Many Hamilton small businesses will have special deals or giveaways on Saturday.

Wildfire plans to give out swag bags to customers at each of their stores for coming in as a “thank you,” Dankoff said. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to give something to someone for just walking through the doors, they’re most likely a small-business shopper.

“It’s been my experience that we have people come shop that day are coming genuinely because they want to support and shop small,” she said. “They’re not coming for the biggest deal, the biggest steal. They truly want to come and choose something from a small business. It feels like the perfect day to give back. These are the people, even beyond these big events, they’re so supportive of Wildfire and just our small business community in general.”

Small Business Saturday is not Wildfire’s biggest sales day of the year, but it’s one of them as it rivals the weekend of Operation Pumpkin, which draws thousands of people to the downtown. Saturday draws a few hundred people.

“To have a day like Small Business Saturday that rivals that, when we don’t have 60,000 people knocking at our doorstep, that just goes to show how supportive our community is,” she said.

For Carrie O’Neal, owner of Scripted Studio at 306 Main St., this Saturday will help carry her store through the season.

“Since we’ve been open, shop-small Saturday is our biggest day of the year, and it really sustains us through all those cold winter months when we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open,” she said.

To entice people, O’Neal, who is a graphic designer, has created a special Main Street Money rubber coin pouch, and the first 75 people will get one for walking into the store. One of those people, she said, will have a $100 surprise inside the pouch.

“I feel it’s a really crucial day for us, and we ask for people to come out, so I just wanted a way to give back, just a little bit, and give them a little money hopefully they spend at another restaurant or shop here in Hamilton,” she said.


Small Business Saturday is part of Hamilton’s season-long holiday calendar of events known as Holly Jolly Hamilton, which included last weekend’s tree-lighting ceremony at Marcum Park.

While Holly Jolly Hamilton has events through the end of the season, next weekend’s events include:

  • Hamilton Christkindlmarkt at Butler County Fairgrounds on Dec. 1 and 2
  • Santacon Hamilton and 1K Fun Run at Marcum Park on Dec. 2
  • Holiday Open House at the Lane Library on 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 3

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