Locals stay home to shop

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Amber McWee looks over clothing at the Honey and Hive women's boutique on Main Street during Small Business Saturday in Elizabeth City, Saturday. Downtown businesses in both Elizabeth City and Edenton said they noticed increased shopper traffic on Saturday as numbers of area residents elected to spend their shopping dollars in their hometowns.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Area businesses reported a strong response from shoppers Saturday to the Shop Small promotion on what is known as Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a national event, sponsored by American Express, that promotes local businesses using the slogan “Shop Small.” Elizabeth City Downtown Inc. supports Small Business Saturday in Elizabeth City and Destination Downtown Edenton takes the lead in Edenton.

Bailey Krivanec, an employee at the Honey and Hive women’s boutique, said Friday night’s Grand Illumination festivities in Elizabeth City brought a lot of people downtown and seemed to have generated strong momentum that translated into lots of shoppers on Saturday.

“We’ve had way more foot traffic and business than what we normally do on a weekend,” Krivanec said.

The Shop Small promotion also seems to have been effective in building traffic at downtown businesses, she said.

Some shoppers interviewed Saturday said they particularly wanted to participate in Small Business Saturday.

Phyllis Bosomworth, who was shopping with her five grandchildren at the Honey and Hive, said she had also visited Arts of the Albemarle and was on her way next to Page After Page bookstore.

“I brought my grandchildren to buy Christmas presents for their mothers,” she said. 

Some of her grandchildren are local and others are visiting from their home in the Asheville area, Bosomworth said.

Surveying the items the children had picked up, she said, “I think everybody has bought something now.”

Krivanec said sales for Friday and Saturday as of 3 p.m. had already exceeded last year’s totals for both days.

“It’s been good,” Krivanec said. “We’ve been really busy.”

Randy Keaton, former county manager in Pasquotank who still lives in Weeksville, was shopping Saturday afternoon at the Page After Page bookstore. Keaton said he, too, wanted to be part of the Shop Small event in Elizabeth City.

“I came in specifically for the Shop Small. I specifically came here for it,” Keaton said, noting he wanted to pick up some books and catch up on his reading.

Katie White, an employee at Page After Page, said the store had strong sales on Black Friday but was doing even better on Saturday.

“The Grand Illumination definitely helped with today,” White said, referring to festivities held Friday night to help kick off the Christmas season downtown.

The store had a Polar Express train exhibit and someone portraying the Cat in the Hat, which drew a lot of people on Friday and continued to bring people in on Saturday, she said.

Shop Small was also a big event in Edenton. Heidi Ross and John Grant started their Saturday morning at the Salty Kisses children’s boutique and said they planned to visit downtown Edenton businesses throughout the day.

Grant said he and Ross find a lot of gifts at downtown shops not by seeking anything in particular but just by “seeing what we see.”

“It’s always fun,” Ross said.

Salty Kisses proprietor Amber Hardy-Joseph pointed out that Ross and Grant also shopped at the store the previous day.

“I specifically support the local businesses,” said Ross, who explained that the town’s downtown district was one of the things that persuaded to move to Edenton from Virginia Beach.

“I wandered into Edenton two years ago and it was exaxctly what I was looking for,” Ross said.

The vibrant downtown and the friendliness of the people in town convinced her it was where she wanted to live, she said.

“I feel like everybody works really hard to keep the downtown vibrant and up to date,” Ross said.

People in her neighborhood — she lives in the Cotton Mill Village — enjoy getting together and also make it a point to shop local, she said.