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Cleveland shop focused on Small Business Saturday as small business sees growth in pandemic

Posted at 9:35 PM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-28 09:21:36-05

CLEVELAND — Small businesses across the country are trying to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. One small business in Cleveland that focuses on growth has been getting bigger in the last few months.

Now, the owners of Urban Planting have their eyes set on Small Business Saturday.

The outside of the shop on Clifton may be brick and mortar but the inside is dirt and leaves.

"It's definitely brought solace to a lot of people," Monica Nessel said about the blooming business.

The plant-centered shop opened over the summer in 2019.

"The year has been crazy, obviously," said owner Elio Calabrese.

Despite the pandemic, Nessel and Calabrese see customers in the store regularly.

"We've probably quadrupled our inventory," Calabrese said about how the small business is doing.

Data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that in 2019, there were 949,479 small businesses in the state that employed more than 2 million people.

For employees and owners like Nessel and Calabrese, the customers who stop by are more than a dollar sign.

"We've created friendships with a lot of our customers," Nessel said. "And to not be able to hug them or do anything like that has been kind of weird."

It is those customers, who are more like friends, who have helped Urban Planting get bigger.

As Nov. 28 marks Small Business Saturday, Urban Planters is planning for a big turnout.

In pre-pandemic years, a rush of customers would have been good for business but this week, Calabrese said he's had rolling sales to keep traffic steady but to avoid the backup on one day.

"We've been doing a lot on our website which has been going crazy because a lot of people are still trying to distance," he said.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as the brainchild of an American Express public relations team.

But, for growing businesses like Urban Planting, every minute means money.

"A lot of people have been trying to support small businesses already through the pandemic," Nessel said.

Shopping small may mean making more stops but "you'll get to see us anytime, so you know who you're dealing with on any basis. You're never going to see Jeff Bezos," Calabrese said.