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‘Bumper to bumper’

Small Business Saturday draws shoppers downtown

-Submitted photo
Morgan Fitzgerald, owner of Real Deals, left, and employees Alicia Taylor, Joni Kruse and Tracy Rodewald pose on Small Business Saturday. Fitzgerald reported that about 200 shoppers came through the store in support of small businesses.

Seeing cars parked bumper to bumper in downtown Fort Dodge on Saturday was evidence of success.

The downtown played host for Small Business Saturday.

To prime the pump, so to speak, representatives of Main Street Fort Dodge handed out $20 gift cards to the first 100 shoppers downtown. That effort was sponsored in part by GreenState Credit Union.

From there, shoppers visited places like Personal Expressions, Mary Kay’s Gifts and Home Decor, and K.D.’s Over The Moon antique store.

“The community as a whole really showed their support for our small, local independent business owners,” said Kris Patrick, director of Main Street Fort Dodge. “When you looked down Central Avenue today, you didn’t see an available parking spot for several hours, so that was really amazing to see bumper to bumper cars.”

Patrick visited many of the downtown stores. She said it was difficult to get around Real Deals on Home Decor, and that was a good thing.

Morgan Fitzgerald, owner of Real Deals, said it was nice to see such a high number of shoppers, estimating that about 200 came through the door throughout the day.

“I think everyone is really focusing on Christmas gifts right now,” she said. “We are all worried the closer we get to Christmas the less that will be available, so people are heavily buying gifts. We also had a lot of families shopping together — multiple generations today. I think that’s because a lot of people are home for Thanksgiving.”

Fitzgerald said pajamas and locally made products like candles and hand woven blankets have been popular.

She appreciates small businesses being in the spotlight.

“I like that it really brings the community together and gives people a reason to come out and support small businesses,” Fitzgerald said. “It puts more attention on us as opposed to the big box stores.”

Patrick said she’s noticed the downtown businesses working together. And she believes that is contributing to their success.

“There’s a neighborhood feel to the business owners in the downtown,” Patrick said. “They are helping each other and building each other up … They are building that capacity to have more businesses come in.”

She was pleased with the community support.

“The Small Business Saturday brand brings awareness,” Patrick said. “I think it really demonstrated how many people were in the downtown. I’m very happy that it was a successful day and a busy day in the downtown. Without the community supporting our small businesses, they would really struggle. They are grateful and Main Street is grateful for the support.”

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