By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
A national marketing campaign has reinforced a natural economic event leaving small business owners smiling on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, said Bill Hyland, owner of the Outdoor Army Navy store on Main Avenue in Ashtabula.
“Black Friday has really become a big institution for the large retailers,” Hyland said. He said the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been a positive economic rebound after some Black Friday drop-off due to the huge sales at larger stores.
“We definitely hear people say that they want to support local businesses. They realize that a dollar spent here stays in this community,” Hyland said. He said Black Friday expenditures were up this year at the store that features a variety of clothing ranging from boots to jackets.
Other local small businesses reported brisk traffic Saturday as well.
“We have had great traffic,” said Toni Carlisle, co-owner of Carlisle’s Home in the Harbor with her husband Ren Carlisle, as customers browsed the Ashtabula store seeking that perfect gift.
Jenny Ball of Geneva said she came to Bridge Street specifically to support local businesses. “That’s why we came out. It’s been on TV,” she said of the American Express marketing campaign that has targeted the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a time to buy from small businesses for the last several years.
“I think you can find little gifts that you can’t find in a box store,” Ball said.
Laura Hatmaker, owner of Silk ‘n’ Treasurers, is experiencing her second holiday season in the Harbor and is excited about Small Business Saturday.
“I think it is a very good idea. We hope it does well this year (again) because Black Friday was a flop,” she said.
Nancy Hedrick, owner of Sandpiper Gallery with her husband Douglas, timed the re-opening of her Bridge Street store with Small Business Saturday and even collected five door mats with the logo on to promote the event.
“This was my goal to be open today,” she said of her jewelry artist business that moved to a new location after a brief time of not operating.
As Victoria D’Orazio, owner of Victoria’s Country Kitchen, and Mike Lubin, of Royal Inca Alpacas, sat chatting behind the counter, customers browsed the Geneva store located at the busy intersection of Route 534 and Route 20.
D’Orazio said she was surprised by a really good day of sales on Black Friday. She said many people made their Small Business Saturday visit a day early.
“I think a lot of people were talking about buying local,” she said.