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Economy

Northeast Ohio Merchants Report Good Traffic For Small Business Saturday, Despite the Pandemic

photo of Northside Marketplace
DOWNTOWN AKRON
Even though a limited number of customers could enter at one time, some local businesses reported that Small Business Saturday traffic was even with last year.

Some local merchants were pleasantly surprised to see a good deal of traffic on Small Business Saturday, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Reverie Gifts has two locations – one in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood and another in Cuyahoga Falls. Owner Kristin Hadari says at both stores, foot traffic was about even with last year’s post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend.

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Takila, owner of Essential Dipped Delights, says foot traffic at Northside Market might have been heavier this weekend if not for coronavirus. But the pandemic did not seem to keep people away, either.

“People are making more of an effort to shop local and support their communities so they will survive this. I’m hoping it does continue as long as it’s safe for everyone to continue to shop.”

And in Akron, Essential Dipped Delights is a dessert stand run by Takila. She says from her vantage point, she gets a good view of the foot traffic at the Northside Market. “Honestly, it was a typical Saturday for me; it wasn’t nothing crazy. Traffic was steady pretty much all day,” Takila said.

But while she adds she was pleased to see the traffic, if it weren’t for coronavirus – the crowds could have been bigger.

Kate Schlademan, owner of The Learned Owl in Hudson and a past president of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, agrees. She says online sales seem to be up this year. But in-person shopping remained steady, even though stores had to limit the number of people inside to maintain social distancing.

“For book stores, people still really like to shop in-store," according to Schalderman. "They like to see what they’re getting. They like to be able to feel the books. Books are a very tactile experience, especially kids’ books. So, mostly, people still like to come in.”

Schlademan says they also got an unexpected boost on Saturday morning, when “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon encouraged people on social media to visit independent book stores. And at the top of his post was a listing for The Learned Owl.

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At Reverie's locations in Gordon Square and on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, owner Kristin Hadari says everyone wore masks and was socially distanced. Each store had a small hot cocoa stand out front for people waiting to get in, due to the limited number of customers allowed at one time.