A variety of items on sale at The Bohemian Goat in Mount Clemens. The Bohemian Goat operates as an art collective where participating artists make goods and sell them through the shop.

A variety of items on sale at The Bohemian Goat in Mount Clemens. The Bohemian Goat operates as an art collective where participating artists make goods and sell them through the shop.

Photo provided by Giselle Godin

Small businesses await holiday shopping amid uncertainty

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published November 21, 2022


MACOMB COUNTY — As Thanksgiving draws closer, local businesses are looking forward to the busiest time of the year: the holiday shopping season and Small Business Saturday.

“It’s huge,” Giselle Godin, co-owner of The Bohemian Goat in Mount Clemens, said. “Small Business Saturday itself is tremendous for us … December is massive for us.”

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as a promotion by American Express to get people to shop at local businesses. It falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, providing a locally focused shopping opportunity between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

At a time of year so dominated by large sales at the biggest retailers, Small Business Saturday has brought the much-needed attention local businesses depend on.

“We count on that time to get us through the slow period,” Barbra Fiantaco, owner of Time Remembered Quilting in Macomb Township, said. “Also, it gives us an opportunity to lower our inventory so we can get everything ready for the next year, so we can put our orders in.”

The season’s usual make-or-break atmosphere is heightened this year by economic woes mostly tied to inflation, echoes of lingering supply chain issues and the looming threat of a recession.

For The Bohemian Goat — an artist collective in Mount Clemens where members sell creations ranging from coasters and pins to jewelry, furniture and more at the storefront on the corner of New and North Walnut streets — this means every cost of doing business has gone up.

“The crafts are more expensive to make,” Godin said. “Wood costs a fortune. Everything costs a fortune. And then on top of it, people are being a lot more thrifty because everything is more expensive. So, it has been a really, really hard year. I don’t know what to expect for this Christmas.”

While Godin says The Bohemian Goat’s 2021 season went “pretty well,” she chalked it up to people feeling better in a world with less emphasis on the pandemic.

Fiantaco says Time Remembered Quilting — which sells quilting supplies, provides quilting lessons and offers longarm quilt finishing services out of its storefront at the corner of 21 Mile and Garfield roads in Macomb Township — saw a boost in sales during the late-pandemic period.

“COVID kind of gave us a boost when people started coming back into the stores,” Fiantaco said. “They would bring their longarm quilting services back into the store, which helped keep us open … When people were locked up in their house, we kind of got an advantage because they were bringing their quilts in finally and getting them done.”

This year has been comparable to last year in terms of business, but the biggest concern for Fiantaco is whether Time Remembered Quilting can get the merchandise it needs in a timely manner.

“Sometimes … we’re trying to get Valentine’s or Easter bunnies (fabric) or something like that for the spring,” Fiantaco said. “Well, sometimes the orders get pushed back so much that we don’t get it until after.”

With orders being so backed up, Small Business Saturday and the shopping season as a whole provide businesses like Time Remembered Quilting with the funding to last until orders come in.

Whether shoppers are into crafted goods or the materials to craft on their own, both Time Remembered Quilting and The Bohemian Goat plan on having specials throughout Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Fiantaco says batik fabrics will be 20% off on Black Friday. They’ll offer a buy-one-get-one-free promotion on select products on Small Business Saturday and a general 15% off sale from Dec. 5-17. Sales at The Bohemian Goat are based on what each collective member sets for their items, but sales are expected.

“We hope people really do shop small this year,” Godin said. “I think it is more important than ever after the pandemic.”

The Bohemian Goat is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, with select Sunday hours.

Time Remembered Quilting is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both stores have online shopping at thebohemiangoat.com and timerememberedquilting.com, respectively.