WHOtv Channel 13 News: Small Business Saturday


With Black Friday finished and Cyber Monday still to come, shoppers got to celebrate small business Saturday in Des Moines’ East Village.

“Oh my gosh it’s awesome, it is like, so cool. There’s so many good stores down here, as you can tell I’m like drowning in packages, and my arms are weighed down but yeah, it’s awesome. There’s tons of good stuff” said Minnesota native Emily Hoff.

Hoff was in town for a concert, but despite being away from home, she managed to get most of her Christmas shopping done.

“I just think it’s fun because you can walk outside and get stuff you can’t find that you don’t see anywhere else; lots of unique and personalized items. It’s just stuff you don’t find anywhere else” she said.

The week-old menswear store, Fontenelle Supply Company, sits next to Porch Light.  The three owners inside say they’re trying to offer just that.

“All of this stuff you can’t buy in a corporate chain store, and I think that’s the best thing about this shop” said Co-Owner Erich Bockman.

The trio of friends from the Omaha area say they started making handmade leather goods three or four years ago in their basement.  Now they’re small business owners.

What I’m doing right now is setting the pockets for our wrist wallet” said Co-Owner Adam Tweedy, busy working over a piece of leather. “Everything’s hand cut, hand stitched. The reason we do hand stitching is that each stitch is sort of locked in and tied together so when one of these breaks it only frays one side, it doesn’t do the whole chain stitch unravel” he said.

According to a study by the National Federation of Independent Business, 95 million shoppers went out last year on Small Business Saturday.

“It’s been great, foot traffic has been great today, a lot better than last Saturday and it’s already 11 or 12 o’clock now. It’s a strong day” said Bockman.

The guys at Fontenelle say they’re trying to harness the momentum from the shopping day, not just for themselves, but for the other small businesses they have chosen to help stock their store with everything from vintage Des Moines branded baseball caps, to Pittsburgh made tie bars.

“We basically know every manufacturer on a personal level.  Through supporting this store, people are supporting other great makers from around the country” said Bockman.

According to the study by the NFIB, last year shoppers spent just over 16 billion dollars on Small Business Saturday.