Small Business Saturday, a national day to support local businesses, is taking place this weekend — and State College is celebrating in a few ways.
The Downtown State College Improvement District (DSCID), the name of both a geographical area and a nonprofit, plans to set up a table near The Corner Room (100 W. College Ave.) from 11 am to 1 pm Saturday to validate parking and hand out free tote bags, stickers, buttons and business maps while supplies last. That location is subject to change, and updates can be found on the organization’s social media.
Starting Friday, 16 local businesses will also offer the same limited-edition collectible ornament that features The Tavern and honors late owner Pat Daugherty. The ornaments, which retail for $14.95, were given to the businesses for free by the DSCID to provide an additional source of revenue. Downtown visitors are also invited to swing by outside the Faith United Church of Christ (300 E. College Ave.), where people are encouraged to vote for their favorite decorated tree by Dec. 4 as part of an annual contest that features 10 participating nonprofits . The nonprofit with the most votes will win $1,000.
“I think we saw during COVID when our small businesses were closed that the community really started to understand the importance of shopping small or shopping local,” said Lee Anne Jeffries, executive director of the DSCID. “Spending money locally truly does make a difference, and I hope that the community understands that it really did get retailers through those couple years and 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 was officially co-sponsored since 2011 by the US Small Business Administration. The state Department of Community and Economic Development even kicked off a “Give Local Some Love” campaign earlier this week in support of the day that grew in popularity during the pandemic.
Longtime local businesses
State College boasts 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 many of those businesses that have long been a part of the community and when they first started downtown, according to the DSCID and other sources:
- The Corner Room (1926): Serves diner fare for breakfast (brunch), lunch and dinner
- Harpers (1926): Fine clothing for men and women
- McClanahan’s (1933*): Penn State clothing, merchandise and student staples
- The Tavern Restaurant (1948): “Elevated” American comfort food and cocktails
- Metro/Barefoot (1959): Boutique carrying shoes, clothing, purses, jewelry, etc.
- HiWay Pizza Pub (1963): Specializing in pizza with house-made doughs and Italian sauces
- Student Book Store (1966): Books, Penn State clothes and memorabilia
- House of Kashmir (1970): Vintage clothing, T-shirts, posters and more
- Uncle Eli’s Artist Marketplace and Gift Emporium (1970): State College’s only locally owned art store
- Appalachian Outdoors (1974): Outdoor clothing and equipment
- Lions Pride (1976): Penn State clothing and merchandise
- WC Clarke’s The Cheese Shoppe (1977): Coffee shop with cheeses, chocolates and more
- Designer’s Denn Salon & Spa (1981): Beauty salon that promotes health and beauty, rejuvenation and relaxation
- Douglas Albert Gallery (1981): Paintings, jewelry, hand-blown glass, ceramics, etc.
- Chumley’s (1984): Welcoming, diverse gay bar
- Nittany Quill (1984): Only stationery shop in State College
- Rapid Transit Sports (1984): Sports equipment and apparel
- The Family Clothesline (1985): Penn State clothing, souvenirs and merchandise
- Growing Tree Toys (1987): Toy store that also now features The Animal Kingdom
- Kitchen Kaboodle (1987): Kitchen supply store
- India Pavilion Exotic Indian Cuisine (1997): Serves north Indian foods and also caters
- Allen Street Grill (exact year not known): Newly restored space with a “no-fuss menu” and modern American cooking
* Denotes opening year that’s reported differently elsewhere