By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
Store owner Kimberly Strunk is excited that her Richmond business, Hoof n’ Paw, will participate today in its third Small Business Saturday.
“We rely on the holidays to help our bottom line,” Strunk said Friday at her store in the Carriage Gate Shopping Center off the Eastern Bypass.
Strunk’s pet supplies business opened in August 2010, the same year Small Business Saturday was created by American Express to promote small, locally owned stores as an alternative to big-box retailers for holiday shopping.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our communities,” said Karen G. Mills, administrator of the federal Small Business Administration, in a news release about Small Business Saturday. “Over the last two decades, small and new businesses have been responsible for creating two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S., and today over half of all working Americans own or work for a small business.”
This year, at least a dozen Madison County businesses are promoting Small Business Saturday events through social media and advertising.
Strunk is partnering with another small Richmond business, Dazzling Dogs Pet Spa, to offer free dog nail trims from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Strunk said her niche is different from big-box pet supply stores.
“I don’t even try to compete” with the big chains, she said. “We’d rather be here for the shoppers after they’ve gotten a rest.”
“Pets are literally on many people’s (Christmas) lists,” Strunk added, noting her holiday-themed pet clothes and treats are always popular this time of year.
A neighboring store to Hoof n’ Paw is about to experience its first Small Business Saturday.
The Surprise Party store opened Oct. 27, and owner Maurice Roberts will be discounting everything in the store today 10 percent.
The store has everything needed for a festive affair, including balloons, themed party decorations and invitations. If the Surprise Party doesn’t have something a customer needs, Roberts said he can order it.
Roberts said he worked for 20 years for chain retailers before opening his own business.
“I wanted to get into something I’d enjoy,” Roberts said.
He and his wife, Tammy, decided to open a party supplies store because it was a business that can easily be expanded to include event planning, photography and catering, Roberts said.
Across town at Richmond Centre, Jillian’s Specialty Gifts & Fine Wines is tucked in at the end of a shop row across from Cinemark movie theater.
The store was open Friday offering several discounts on a variety of items, and owner Jill Taylor said more sales were set for today.
The store opened Oct. 2, 2011, and will be celebrating its second holiday season.
However, Taylor said she received her license to sell wine and spirits in March, so this is the first time her store will be able to offer specialty bottles for gifts.
The store has customized gift baskets and sells wreaths, jewelry, girls’ hair accessories, UK-themed items and baby gifts.
“I had been doing customized baskets for five years out of my home,” Taylor said. She also was a sales representative for a wine company, so she combined those two jobs and opened her store at Richmond Centre.
This holiday season, the Kentucky Arts Council is launching its annual Give a Gift Made in Kentucky campaign. The council encourages people to buy Kentucky-made gifts throughout the holiday season. To find out more, shoppers can go to www.artscouncil.ky.gov.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org