Mondo Ross

By Doug D. Sims

It is a pleasure to have the one and only Santa Claus, also known as Mondo Ross, in attendance today. I trust you are enjoying your time with the people and taking in the vast array of merchandise for sale. How did you come to assume the role of Santa Claus this year?

Tiesha Hogue from Loc Royalty and Kendra McNeil from We Are LIT graciously approached me. When they asked if I would assume the role of Santa Claus, given the chance it offered to serve, I agreed without hesitation.

What impact do you believe events such as Small Business Saturday have on the community?

I believe they are incredibly beneficial, particularly to small businesses that do not have a storefront. Small business owners have their audience, but they benefit from an additional customer base, which is where we come in. We bring our audience, customers, and clientele to promote their services.

Events like Small Business Saturday provide people with an opportunity to explore their potential. For example, Shunttina Edge of Edge2Edge Painting sells painting kits, an activity that a parent and child can enjoy at home because they will receive all the necessary materials in the kit. 

Food is also available. So, there is something for everyone.

Your daughter is with you today. May I ask how excited she is to take photos with you and the other children attending the event?

She is always excited. Especially now that she knows I am Santa Claus. As a father, I look forward to having the “Santa Claus conversation” with her again soon. Some other children have approached me for an additional hug in hopes of securing the gifts they asked for. 

If a Santa Claus is needed next year, will you participate?

Definitely! I hope my beard has slightly more shade of white next year, but I don’t mind. It is a way of giving back to the community.

Do you have any final remarks for the community regarding Small Business Saturday?

As a child, I recall frequenting the Baxter area during the summer months for free lunches since I grew up around the corner on Sherman Street. It is an honor to give back to our community. I am content and eager to participate in such events.

Della Marie Levi

Grander Media spoke with Della Marie Levi, owner of Della Soul Records and one of the organizers of the Small Business Saturday Black-owned Pop-up Shop at Baxter Community Center. Can you tell us how long you have been organizing this event?

Certainly. This is a 5-year event. Our objective was to provide space for Black-owned businesses to showcase their products and services. It was important that the event was for Black businesses because many of us do not have brick-and-mortar locations.

 How has the community embraced this event over the years and what feedback has it received from business owners?

 The community has been supportive of us, and we have seen a steady increase in the number of attendees every year. People come to support our businesses and explore different products available. Many of the vendors are repeat participants, while others are new to the event.

 Looking ahead, do you envision any potential growth opportunities for this event?

 We plan to maintain the focus on small businesses and keep it local. Our goal is to promote local businesses and keep the event accessible to the community.

 Do you have any words of advice for the community about supporting small businesses?

 It is always essential to shop small and support local businesses. Your money goes a long way in helping small business owners take care of their families and invest in their communities. Thank you for your support.


Kendra McNeil

We are pleased to have Miss Kendra McNeil, owner of We Are LIT Multicultural Bookshop at the Small Business Saturday Pop-up event. How many years have you participated in this event?

 I have had the pleasure of participating in the Small Business Saturday Pop-up Shop for five consecutive years.

 Could you kindly tell us about your business?

 We Are LIT is a multicultural bookshop based in Grand Rapids, MI. It is celebrating six years in business this month. The bookshop sells new, multicultural books across all genres.

 How important do you believe it is to participate in a small business event to showcase your products?

 We Are LIT’s journey began with the Small Business Saturday pop-up and has continued to thrive for six years. So, I believe that participating in small business events is crucial. For my business, Small Business Saturday has allowed me to give back to the community and not just focus on sales. For the past three years, We Are LIT has added an experience to the Small Business Saturday Black-owned Pop-up Shop event by incorporating story time and photos with Santa. Providing this free experience is our way to show appreciation to our supportive community.

 How have children responded to the Santa photos?

 The children love taking photos with Santa! It has become a signature part of Small Business Saturday. Although some children are shy at first, they eventually relax and have fun with it.

 What would you say to the community as a whole regarding attending this year’s event?

 I encourage the community to support their local small businesses all year. However, Small Business Saturday in particular is an additional opportunity to discover the different talents and products within your community and connect with fellow locals. Your support is always appreciated. 


Visits: 61

error: Content is protected !!