Small Business Saturday, a day to support neighborhood stores, follows Black Friday and this year Loveland’s independent business owners are giving shoppers even more incentive to head downtown this weekend.
Shop Local Saturday — an initiative by Loveland Downtown District — offers buyers deals and discounts the last Saturday of every month. A dozen diverse businesses will be participating in this Saturday’s event that is expected to draw significant crowds.
“This promotion was originally started in 2019 — in collaboration with a group of female-owned downtown boutiques — as a way to help keep our dollars local and show the value of our unique, independent retailers,” said Fawn Floyd-Baltzer, marketing and membership manager of Loveland Downtown District.
“Shop Local Saturday has been well received by the community and customers get an opportunity to save money, discover new products and connect with these small-business owners,” Floyd-Baltzer said.
Loveland’s downtown also offers numerous cafes and coffee shops selling fare to fuel a day of successful shopping.
“Being part of the downtown community has been a joy,” said Sonja Kness, who opened up her shop, Boutique by Sonja, December 2020. “I love being part of bringing life back into the downtown area.”
Prior to setting up a store at 436 N. Cleveland Ave., Kness took her passion for clothing and accessories on the road.
“I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember, but didn’t realize my dream until 2016 when I started selling clothes during summer festivals around Colorado,” Kness said. “That grew into a mobile boutique until 2020. When the world shut down, I decided to open a brick-and-mortar.”
With the pandemic ushering in the cancellations of events, festivals and many public gatherings, she decided to lay down roots in the revamped and sprawling building that used to house Loveland Community Health Center and McKee Thrift Avenue.
The spacious store — offering everything from chunky turquoise necklaces to maxi dresses — has become a destination for those seeking distinct finds.
“Shop Local Saturday is our favorite day of the month,” Kness said. “The NoCo community has really shown up to show local businesses love. We’ll be offering BOGO $15 gift cards, lots of other fabulous stocking stuffers and stacked discounts.”
Christmas candles made from repurposed vintage paint cans are just some of the unusual treasures to be found.
“Holiday dresses for upcoming parties have been a hit, as well as outerwear,” Kness said. “Business is starting to pick up since the completion of Cleveland Station and the removal of construction fences. I can’t wait to get some neighbors.”
Boutique By Sonja will also celebrate its one-year anniversary with giveaways, food and drinks on Dec. 11.
“I have always been obsessed with fashion, but in a rather offbeat way,” said Stephanie O’Rourke, owner of Little Piece of My Heart — a shop with locations in Loveland, Fort Collins, Golden and Boulder. “In high school, I loved to thrift — I still do — and I loved being able to create unique outfits through random pieces that someone else gave away. I’ve also always been insanely obsessed with the ‘60s’ and ‘70s’ psychedelic movement. Everything from the fashion, to music, to interior design — it is all so inspiring to me.”
The Loveland location is an eclectic hodgepodge of vintage gems and well-curated pieces that reflect O’Rourke’s keen eye for color, texture and placement.
The flower-power aesthetic and mod undertones provide a flavor that nods to the past, yet feels incredibly current.
“I also come from an art major background, so, in general, just the process of being creative and curating things from outfits to brick-and-mortar store fronts is my preferred artistic medium,” O’Rourke said.
From velvet teal jumpsuits to online mystery bundles that feature three random sale items, Little Piece of My Heart stays true to its motto “Unique things for unique people.”
Who would expect anything less from a business whose namesake is taken straight from a lyric of Janis Joplin’s 1969 hit?
“We are offering tiered discounts both on Friday and Saturday,” O’Rourke said. “So, for example, $5 off a purchase of $50, $10 off of $75 and so forth. We are also offering an additional $10 tacked on to any gift card purchase of $50 or more. The discounts will be at all of our locations.”
Little Piece of My Heart’s eclectic inventory includes crystal quartz hoop earrings, whipped deodorant, incense, novelty socks and so much more.
“I am really excited about our own personal brand merch,” O’Rourke said. “We have really cute ringer tees, cropped tees and totes with our logo on them and they are so fun. I also love all the fall/winter scented candles and we definitely have the funniest and/or most fun holiday cards you’ll find.”
O’Rourke stays busy running four locations and has plans to open up a fifth location in Denver soon.
“Business has been pretty steady,” O’Rourke said. “It seems that since COVID happened, people are realizing the value of small businesses in our communities. I have had a lot of very supportive customers over the years and I am so grateful to anyone who purchases from our store.
While Studio Vino — a center that offers paint-and-sip nights and a variety of goods — is not an official participant in Shop Local Saturday, owner Amy White said she is willing to offer 25% off to anyone who mentions this article.
Prior to Saturday, organizers are running three classes at 1/2 price on Black Friday.
In addition, the studio is allowing folks to give the gift of at-home creative exploration.
“We started paint-at-home kits by necessity,” White said. “We were closed last year right before Thanksgiving and we didn’t know when we’d be able to open again. Paint-at-home kits kept us in business. The community was so gracious and really came out and supported us as we started something brand new to us. We are so grateful for that.”
The kits have been a hit with folks looking to stay entertained during many pandemic-related shutdowns.
“We sold paint-at-home kits exclusively last December,” White said. “This year we’ve been pleased to keep them as an option, but we love it even more when people come in and paint with us.”
Beginners and artistically inclined individuals can get in on the creativity all year long.
“I think people are happy when they are creating,” White said. “When someone comes in nervous and saying they haven’t painted ever in their lives and leaves feeling good about their painting — that’s just the best. People tell me they had such a fun time and that’s exactly what we’re here for. It’s about having fun, maybe having a glass of wine and enjoying the people you came with.”
Deals from various shops can be found not just on Saturday, but in the days following Thanksgiving.
“We are excited to promote supporting local during the entire holiday shopping weekend downtown with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Artists Sunday and Cyber Monday,” Floyd-Baltzer said.
Independently run shops deliver a bit of the unexpected with hand-crafted items and thoughtfully selected merchandise that big chains fail to carry.
“In 2020 our downtown economy was hit hard, but the retail shops embraced new ways of doing business, such as selling via their websites and social media,” Floyd-Baltzer. “They have so much to offer that can’t be compared with big-box stores.”