COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Business owners in Clintonville are prepping for one of the biggest shopping days of the year — Small Business Saturday.

This is after uncertainty during the last holiday season because of the pandemic.

Small business owners Olivera Bratich and Natalie Pariano both say they’d describe this year as full of hope and optimism.

A stark difference from some of the feelings they had last year.

Wildcat Gift and Party has graced Clintonville for the past 16 years.

“I’ve seen people grow up I’ve seen people, families grow and change over the years,” said Bratich.

She remembers the lockdown and the capacity restrictions like it was yesterday. It had a direct impact on her livelihood.

“Last year was terrifying and this year feels a heck of a lot better.”

The support from the community during the holiday season has been strong and she hopes it will continue into Small Business Saturday this weekend.

Natalie Pariano owns a shop called Natterdoodle across the street agrees. She’s eager to see customers. Her doors were closed for in-person shopping last holiday.

“I think this year I feel just so optimistic having seen how the community has really come out and started shopping local already,” Pariano said.

According to Pariano, the holiday shopping season makes up about 60 percent of her revenue for the year.

They’ve adopted some things they’ve learned from the pandemic like online shopping and pickup.

“So if you don’t want to do that shipping fee — small businesses we normally can’t afford to do free shipping you can always pick up local at your convenience and know that your items are saved and ready to go for you,” Pariano said.

Bratich said she feels stable for the year ahead and it’s thanks to loyal customers, something that hasn’t wavered over the years.

“I hope that people are happy to spend time with their friends and family that they’re out shopping with — and I hope that people are ready to have fun again — I think we’re all ready to have fun again!

Both Bratich and Pariano tell me they believe they’re on the upswing from the pandemic and are looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces this weekend.