Shop Small this Small Business Saturday

All photos provided by ECDI

As the days grow shorter and colder, my thoughts turn to ways that I can spread holiday cheer. In my eyes, there’s no better way to ring in the holiday season than by joining millions of Americans participating in the 10th annual Small Business Saturday on November 30.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 after The Great Recession as a way to encourage people to Shop Small and boost their local communities. Small Business Saturday has grown tremendously since then and has become an important seasonal launch for small business owners during their busiest time of the year. According to the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insight Survey, 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion in 2018. This support is crucial and impactful, because according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses make up to 99.9% of all U.S. businesses, employing 58.9 million people and accounting for 20% of gross job creation in the country. 

The SBA has been an official co-sponsor of Small Business Saturday since 2015 and has played an integral role in the support of American small businesses across the county and right here in Ohio.

“By creating opportunities for accessible capital and strengthening small business technical support networks, the U.S. Small Business Administration empowers entrepreneurs to realize their dreams, which in turn creates vibrant and thriving downtowns in Ohio’s urban and rural communities,” explains SBA Columbus District Director Everett Woodel. 

Small businesses employ 46% of all Ohio employees, and these local companies are more likely to reinvest earnings into the local economy compared to national chains. Central Ohio is filled with unique and interesting small businesses making it a great place to #ShopSmall and amplify your impact. ECDI has worked with more than a thousand small businesses in Central Ohio. Their success depends in part on community members who choose to shop small and who choose to support their neighbors. Below are three ECDI small businesses to check out on November 30 and all year round. After visiting these businesses, we know that they have that perfect gift or experience for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life. 

Seven Studios – Downtown Columbus 

Owner Julie Wilkes is a motivational speaker, a fitness expert, and an inspired yogi. As a heart disease survivor, Wilkes has outlived her life expectancy by more than three-fold and believes that she was given a second chance to share her message of inspiration and to help others on their health and wellness journey. 

With a loan from ECDI, Wilkes opened Seven Studios at a central location in Downtown Columbus, and now offers a variety of classes for all levels and abilities including yoga, pilates, dance, HIIT and more. Additionally, just a few weeks ago, Wilkes opened a concept called the ‘Energy Bar’ next door to the yoga and pilates studios. 

Individuals or groups can come into the Energy Bar and make their own custom lotions, body wash, sugar scrub, body spray or perfume rollers, using a personalized blend of essential oils. This could be a fun outing with friends or family over the holidays (reservations recommended)!

Seven Studios also has a variety of inspirational retail where 13% of the sales go back to three different charities that support victims of human trafficking, pet rescue and underserved communities. On November 30, Seven Studios will be offering a Buy One Get One Free sale when you reserve online.  

“Our purpose is to provide a space that welcomes every person and provides an inspiring experience. We want people leaving happier than they came. Whether through a motivating yoga, pilates or fitness class, by purchasing a feel-good retail product that benefits a charity, or in customizing a self-care essential oil product – we want people to take the energy of Seven with them. Life is hard, and if we can provide a little light to make it a little better – then we have served our purpose. We love connecting kindred spirits and creating community in Columbus. We are honored to be a part of the Downtown experience and are grateful for our members, patrons, and instructors. THEY are who make Seven.”

– Julie Wilkes

A Seven Studios Class Pass, Energy Bar Experience or a Private Lesson would be a great gift for anyone looking to incorporate a wellness routine into their life. If you are looking for a break between your shopping expeditions on Small Business Saturday, Wilkes is offering SlowFlow Yoga, Gentle Flow and HIIT classes. Seven Studios is also offering a psychic party the night before! For more details, follow her Instagram (@SevenStudios) or check out her website  

Seven Studios is located at 267-275 S. Third St. Columbus, Ohio 43215.  Energy Bar hours are 5 – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Enchanted Shoe Repair – Short North and Dublin

Nearly two decades ago, Farrukh Ashraf was working for another shoe repair business when he was presented with the opportunity to buy and open his own store. Ashraf and his wife Fozia decided to take a chance and they opened Enchanted Shoe Repair.

Enchanted Shoe Repair offers extensive shoe repair services, custom orthopedic build work, and cobbler training services. Enchanted Shoe Repair is a family business—even their 12-year-old son Shaun is involved. Shaun has designed a line of Italian-made shoes, which are available for purchase on their website and would be a great holiday or birthday gift. 

Ashraf has extensive experience and from day one he has been impressing customers and creating life-long clients. Many of his clients who move away continue to send their shoes to Enchanted Shoe Repair because there’s no one else they trust. The business has garnered national recognition and the Ashrafs are consistently sent shoes from across the country, including from the NYC Rockettes! 

ECDI has worked with the Ashrafs over the past decade and helped them obtain a loan to open their second location in Dublin.

“ECDI helped us with our Dublin expansion, providing loan capital for signage, equipment, necessary things that banks weren’t wild about giving loans for after the recession, “ Fozia explained. “They made the experience very easy—the process was seamless and painless. I recommend them to everybody, especially to those who don’t want to go the traditional route with banks.” 

Enchanted Shoe Repair’s Short North store is located on 28 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus, OH 43201. Their Dublin shop is located on 2752 Festival Lane, Dublin, Ohio 43017. For more information, visit

The Draft Room – Westerville

After a full day of shopping local, I recommend that you rest your feet and stop by The Draft Room in Westerville. Owners Nick and Pam Baker and Sara Schopfer opened The Draft Room three years ago with a loan from ECDI and with a goal to serve the freshest variety of craft beer in town. Part bar and part bottle shop, the Draft Room has a fun and inviting atmosphere that makes it a perfect place to wrap up and celebrate your #ShopSmall Saturday, or to host your annual holiday party. Their draft list is carefully cultivated and includes local and unique brews of all types. With a rotating list of two dozen draft beers (including former ECDI clients and local brewers Hoof Hearted and Dankhouse), specialty cocktails, and an extensive bourbon list, The Draft Room has cultivated a menu that appeals to everyone. 

Additionally, The Draft Room sells a range of t-shirts, glassware, and a large selection of bottled brews. You can even purchase crowlers from most of the options on tap. Any of these items would be a great gift for the beer aficionado in your life. Schopfer and The Bakers are big fans of shopping small and so in honor of Small Business Saturday, The Draft Room will have specials items in the bottle shop. 

 “Shopping local helps support the community in which you live. Keeping your money local is so important, there’s a whole supply chain that relies on small business, so by walking in our doors you know who you are supporting, families and friends right in your own city! So spend local, you never know how hard someone is working behind that counter to chase a dream. We’ve been chasing ours and our community supports us, without them we wouldn’t be here, that’s why we love them!”

 -Pamela Baker, Co-Owner of The Draft Room

The Draft Room is located at 570 W. Schrock Rd., Westerville, OH 43081. For more information, visit

Enchanted Shoe Repair, Seven Studios and The Draft Room are just a few of ECDI’s local clients to visit on November 30 and all year round as you decide to support your neighbors and #ShopSmall.

ECDI provides supportive small business development services to a vast range of small businesses across industries including those in retail, food services, transportation, health care, professional services, and many more. We know that there is an ECDI small business nearby that you can support on November 30, amplifying your impact in your local community. In fact, in 2014, 67% of Ohio’s population lived within three miles of an ECDI-supported business. I encourage you to turn to your neighborhood mom-and-pop shop this holiday season, but I also encourage you to continue to choose to shop small even when the holidays are over, because it truly makes a positive difference in your community.  

For an extensive list of ECDI small businesses that would benefit from your support this holiday season, check out our Business Directory at

“We hope you join us and #ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday, to celebrate and support the continuing impact that small businesses generate here in Columbus and across the state.”

– Everett Woodel, SBA Columbus District Director 

For more information, visit

This mutli-part sponsored series highlighting ECDI’s work in Columbus is presented with paid support by ECDI.

Since 2004, ECDI has assisted Ohio’s entrepreneurs through its one-stop shop business services model, suited to meet the needs of all entrepreneurs, regardless of what business stage they’re in. From providing capital to entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, to providing focused, business-specific educational opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial skill sets, ECDI works with their clients to meet their unique needs. Whether assisting a new client with a business concept or an accomplished entrepreneur opening a fifth location, ECDI’s “never say no” approach has allowed over twelve thousand entrepreneurs to take advantage of the services it provides. Visit today to learn more.