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Small Business Saturday delivers retail boost

South Boston News
Shoppers peruse the Small Business Saturday deals at Southern Frills in South Boston. (Sharon Kinsey photo)
SoVaNow.com / November 27, 2017

Saturday was an apt day to think small — small business, that is. The weather could not have been better for Small Business Saturday, a celebration of shopping with local businesses that stands in contrast to Black Friday, the after-Thanksgiving sales promotion dominated by big box retail chains.

Taylor Jennings, owner of Southern Frills in South Boston, knew that Small Business Saturday could give her brand new business a sizable boost, so she took on the role of lead cheerleader for the event. “Business has been really good, a steady crowd not just looking, but buying,” said Taylor.

One of Southern Frills’ customers, Anita Hale, said she was from out of town, so this was her first time in the store. “I’ve always lived in small towns, and I love to support the independent business person,” Anita said. She added that this was her fourth stop on her Small Business Saturday shopping trip. After lunch at Café Peroni, she planned to head to the Town of Halifax.

Amy Bricking, Meghann Newton and Karen Robertson all were busy shopping at Keep It Classy, a vintage clothing store in South Boston. All of them admit a fondness for vintage clothing — and Angela Harding, owner, has plenty of it to offer.

Bricking said she just moved back from Tampa, Fla., and she much prefers shopping in South Boston. “It is so much more personal and pleasant,” Bricking said.

All three women were planning to spend the entire day shopping in South Boston and the Town of Halifax.

It doesn’t have to be Small Business Saturday for Southern Plenty to be overflowing, but having the extra shoppers on the street didn’t hurt either. Owner Mary Bagwell received a grant to expand her already successful business and people continue to seek her out. “The Small Business Program has really been good this year, I know we are seeing more business than from last year’s event,” said Bagwell.

She just opened the second floor with artwork and clothing and has big plans for further expansion.

In the Town of Halifax, the big rush had come in the morning. Tom Shepherd, owner of Peddler’s Market in downtown Halifax, said “It was kind of crazy here this morning, people pouring through the door.”

He added that there were many first-time visitors and he was very pleased with the business, which he said exceeded last year’s event.

Debbie Thompson and her husband have operated The Cozy Cottage in downtown Halifax for 14 years. Her husband, a craftsman, makes the beautiful furniture displayed in the store. Thompson concurred with Shepherd on the stepped-up pace of Small Business Saturday: “This year was much better than last year, and the foot traffic has been good.” She added that, “normally Saturday’s are pretty dead, but this event really brought people out.”

It didn’t hurt that Thompson was serving hot apple cider as customers walked in the door.

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