Small Business Saturday, a national day to support local businesses, takes place this weekend—and State College is celebrating in several ways.
The Downtown State College Improvement District (DSCID), the name of a geographic area and nonprofit organization, plans to set up a table near The Corner Room (100 W. Hand out free tote bags, posters, buttons, and action maps while supplies last. This location is subject to change, and can be found at Updates on the organization’s social media.
Starting Friday, 16 local businesses will also be giving away the same limited-edition collectible ornament that features The Tavern and pays homage to late owner Pat Daugherty. The ornaments, which retail for $14.95, were given to businesses free of charge by DSCID to provide an additional source of revenue. Downtown visitors are also invited to swing by the United Church of Christ (300 E. College Ave.), where people are encouraged to vote for their favorite decorated tree by December 4 as part of an annual contest involving 10 participating nonprofits. The nonprofit organization with the most votes will win $1,000.
“I think we’ve seen during COVID when our small businesses have closed down that the community is really starting to understand the importance of micro-shopping or local shopping,” said Lee Anne Jeffries, executive director of DSCID. “Spending money locally really makes a difference, and I hope the community realizes that they’ve really been successful in getting retailers over those two years and that they’re seeing the other side of that. We want to keep that going for them.”
Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 and has been officially co-sponsored since 2011 by the US Small Business Administration. The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development even launched a “Give Some Loving Local” campaign earlier this week to support the day, which has grown in popularity during the pandemic.
Domestic companies for a long time
State College is proud of hundreds of businesses, many of which have been part of the community for 25 years or more. Some, like Appalachian Outdoors, have changed locations while others like HiWay Pizza Pub have changed names while keeping the same family of owners.
Here’s a look at several of those businesses that have long been part of the community and when they got their start downtown, according to DSCID and other sources:
- The Corner Room (1926): Serves diner fare for breakfast (brunch), lunch and dinner
- Harper’s (1926): Men’s and Women’s Haute Couture
- McClanahan’s (1933*): Apparel, merchandise, and staples of Pennsylvania
- The Tavern (1948): “Elevated” American Food and Cocktails
- Metro/Barefoot (1959): Boutique carrying shoes, clothes, wallets, jewelry, etc.
- Highway Pizza Bob (1963): Specialized in homemade pizza with Italian sauces.
- Student Bookstore (1966): Penn State Books, Clothing, and Souvenirs
- Kashmir House (1970): Vintage clothing, T-shirts, posters, and more
- Uncle Eli Artist Market and Gift Emporium (1970): State College’s only locally owned art store
- Appalachian Outdoors (1974): Clothing and Equipment for the Outdoors
- Lions Pride (1976): Pennsylvania Apparel and Merchandise
- W.C. Clarke’s The Cheese Shoppe (1977): A coffee shop with cheese, chocolate, and more
- Designer’s Denn Salon & Spa (1981): a beauty salon that promotes health, beauty, rejuvenation, and relaxation
- Douglas Albert Gallery (1981): paintings, jewellery, handmade glass, ceramics, etc.
- Chumley’s (1984): Welcoming and diverse gay bar
- Nittany Quill (1984): State College’s only stationery store
- Rapid Transit Sports (1984): Sports apparel and equipment
- The Family Clothesline (1985): Penn State clothing, souvenirs, and merchandise
- Growing Tree Toys (1987): A toy store that now also houses Animal Kingdom
- Caboodle Kitchen (1987): Kitchen Supply Store
- India Pavilion for Exotic Indian Cuisine (1997): Serves North Indian food and caters
- Allen Street Grill (exact year unknown): newly renovated space with a “no mess menu” and modern American cooking
* denotes inaugural year reported differently elsewhere