Shoppers keep their eyes, wallets local for Small Business Saturday
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
It was 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon and Darlene Schweitzer, an employee at Anywear Apparel in Mt. Pleasant, finally had a few minutes to dig into her lunch.
“Oh, it’s been so busy,” she exclaimed. “It has been constantly busy. We have not had at lot of people at one time but always someone. I guess the most people we had at one time was 15.”
Anywear Apparel was offering a “buy one and get one for half-price” sale on Nov. 26, more commonly known as Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is a rather new shopping event, launched Nov. 27, 2010, in Roslindale Village, Mass. It encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.
Schweitzer said she was selling a lot of University of Iowa apparel which she found a little odd since the Hawkeye football team had played its last regular season game the previous day.
The store also had good business the day before, she said, but a glance at the cash register tape showed more sales as of 2 p.m. on Saturday than all of Friday. “I am really pleased with the traffic,” Schweitzer added.
Mt. Pleasant resident, Sharon Davis, who was shopping at Anywear Apparel, said she was marking things off her Christmas list. “I don’t have all my shopping done yet, but I am doing well today. I like to shop local. There are lots of nice stores.”
Small business owners offered mixed reports regarding Saturday sales.
Karl Schaefer, manager of Becker’s Jewelry, observed “it is kind of slow for us this year. It was busier last year.” Schaefer did admit that temperatures in the upper 50s probably had something to do with it. “It is a nice day and people are probably doing other things.”
Becker’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales actually began Wednesday, and Schaefer said business has been steady all week and was particularly good on Friday.
Top sellers include Pandoras and Alex & Ani, which is a small stackable bracelet made in the United States from recycled materials.
Art Vision Sales, which opened June 14 on West Monroe Street, was experiencing its first Small Business Saturday and owner Jody Bolibaugh was delighted with the store traffic.
“Sales are great, we are doing awesome today,” Bolibaugh began. “We’ve had shoppers from as far away as Montana. People are mainly buying Christmas presents and it has been just terrific today. We’ve had a lot more buyers than lookers.”
Roy Manfredi, of Russell Cellular, the local Verizon dealer, said while sales were good Friday, Saturday was a little slow.
“We had some good deals on Samsung Android phones and tablets which where a big hit Friday and today,” Manfredi began. “We were busier than normal yesterday. I think today people are with their families for gatherings. Yesterday, we had a busy afternoon and it was steady until about 4 p.m.”
He said that Russell’s new location in the Union Block Building has been a bonus for his business. “We have a lot better visibility here and the building is so much nicer.”
About a block away at Country Charm and Gifts, Debra Lyon, of Mt. Pleasant, said she was down to the final items on her Christmas list. “I’m almost done and have completed my Christmas decorating at home. We always go on a Christmas shopping spree earlier this month, so I am just getting some last-minute gifts.”
Sherry Bertsch, owner of County Charm, was giving a rose to the first 100 customers on Small Business Saturday and said the roses were about gone in the early afternoon.
“It has been real good,” Bertsch reflected about the sales. “We have had a lot of people in and they are taking advantage of the specials. You can’t beat the weather.”
She said that business has been better than in past years with Christmas decorations, ornaments, wreaths and poinsettias. “Today has definitely been more busy than past Small Business Saturdays,” Bertsch said. “It has been very steady after the first hour. I am very happy with it.”