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Shop small on the Southside to support local small businesses

Shop small on the Southside to support local small businesses

By Todd Travis

On Nov. 26, small businesses will be celebrated and highlighted as we begin to approach the end of the year and continue in the holiday season. Restore Old Town Greenwood will be hosting “Small Business Saturday” and Delta Theta Tau will join the Beech Grove Chamber to host “Shop Small Saturday” with its annual artisan fair. Both events are designed to boost local businesses and support the hard-working people of Johnson County while enjoying community fellowship.

Delta Theta Tau

In 1903, a community-based sorority called Delta Theta Tau was founded in Muncie, Ind. Since then, it has grown into a national organization dedicated to philanthropic projects. A chapter in Johnson County was formed in 1973, and they introduced their first craft fair in 1975. The craft fair has continued to be held annually throughout the years and serves as a means to support local small charities and, with the help of the Beech Grove chamber, small businesses.

“Our chapter alone has averaged $20,000-$25,000 per year benefitting Johnson County, the Greenwood area, and the local smaller charities that we contribute to. We’ve never fell below that, even when times are tough and we’ve done it all through this craft fair – Artisan Holiday Market,” shared Helen Fisher, member of Delta Theta Tau and chairperson of the fair.

Santa (Mr. Chipman) arrived at the fair last year in the Big Blue Colts firetruck to do some Santa shopping. (Submitted photos)

“We have about 23 charities that we contribute to including Better Indy Babies, Eleanor Skillen School 34, Fletcher Place Community Center, several senior community centers and Servant’s Heart in Beech Grove,” Fisher continued.

Over the last four years, the Greater Beech Grove Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Delta Theta Tau to include Shop Small Saturday with the Artisan Holiday Market, held at Beech Grove High School. The chamber stepped in to provide bags to the attendants of the fair that include coupons and materials from local businesses which encourage people to head to Main Street in Beech Grove after the fair.

“We don’t want to be categorized as a big show. We have maintained a small, home-spun, strictly juried hand-crafted fair and we’ve never wavered from that,” Fisher emphasized.

Shirley Green and Pat Gleitz (two of the longest standing members) sell the chapter’s freshly made cheese spread at the fair with Santa waiting for his order.

Restore Old Town Greenwood

Restore Old Town Greenwood is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local businesses in Greenwood and keeping the history intact in Old Town Greenwood. Small Business Saturday is one of the ways they put small, local businesses in the spotlight. Every year they ask a local business to host the event and this year it will be held at Take Root Country Store.

The organization invites as many small businesses as possible in the area to participate and get some extra recognition by local residents. A tote bag is passed out at the beginning of the event that includes information, coupons and promotional materials from the local businesses. As an incentive, the totes are filled with “Old Town Dollars” which can be redeemed at participating shops and used as cash. Restore Old Town puts in $500 of cash spread throughout the tote bags ranging from $5 to $35. Once the “Old Town Dollars” are redeemed, the shops are then reimbursed for those coupons by Restore Old Town.

“There’s usually a line to get the totes because everyone wants the bag with the $35 coupon of Old Town Dollars,” Darcy Miles, board member at Restore Old Town Greenwood, said with a laugh.

Alice Kochert, chapter treasurer and dog treat specialist, sells the chapter’s homemade dog treats. Paintings from the chapter’s artist Diane Ruyack.

“We do a lot of other things in addition to Small Business Saturday that are intended to help the community and local small businesses. They’re what keep things going and we want to do what we can to support,” Miles added.

If you want to do your part in supporting local businesses and local charities on the Southside, consider attending one of these events or looking for other ways to get involved. For more info about Restore Old Town Greenwood visit: restoreoldtowngreenwood.org and for info about the Artisan Holiday Market visit indianaowned.com/event/delta-theta-tau-artisan-holiday-market/ or facebook.com/events/beech-grove-sr-high-school/delta-theta-tau-artisan-holiday-market/353882812221782/

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