The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 23, 2013

Shop small has big impact

JOHNSTOWN — Shop small.

Small Business Saturday is coming up at the end of the week, and shoppers are being encouraged to shop at small, local businesses, not to cut down on their spending.

American Express has been running a growing shop small campaign for the last five years, and this year, Sharon Honkus, owner of Celestial Brides & Prom,

142 Market St., downtown Johnstown, decided to get on the bandwagon through the American Express Facebook page.

“They had a notice on their Facebook page if any organization wanted to promote small business, they would send supplies,” Honkus said. “I expected a couple posters.”

What Honkus got was four large boxes with door mats, stickers, rubber stamps, pens, ecologically friendly cloth shopping bags, car magnets and balloons – all promoting Small Business Saturday.

There were even two banners large enough to post across the street at Main and Franklin and Main and Market.

When she received the shipment, Honkus became the neighborhood champion for the downtown and shared the information at a Discover Downtown Johns-town Partnership board meeting.

“It’s become our mission to promote shopping small,” Honkus said. “It’s good for the local economy, so we want to partner with American Express. It’s a good message that when you support small business, you support the community. And small businesses fund baseball leagues and cheerleaders. We need more retail downtown.”

“Every time you spend out of the area, you hurt your community. That’s even more true now on the Internet. You’re hurting yourself because they’re never going to support your community.”

As neighborhood champion, it is Honkus’ role is distribute the materials she received from American Express to other small businesses downtown before Saturday.

“Our goal is to make Nov. 30 the biggest shopping day of the year for small business,” Honkus said.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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