A Black Friday and a bright Saturday

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer 

Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and in Smithfield, a variety of locally owned shops — offering unique items that likely cannot be found in a Black Friday, “big box store” sale — will commemorate the day. 

Cheryl Ketcham, owner of the Finley’s General Store at 327 Main St., said that the store will be celebrating Small Business Saturday by giving out reusable shopping bags. The ecofriendly bags were provided by American Express, which has sponsored Small Business Saturday across the country since 2010. 

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Finley’s will also have a banjo player outside their store on Small Business Saturday to commemorate the event. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“Our hot ticket item this year would be our tea towels,” said Ketcham, adding that candy — which goes by the pound at Finley’s — has also been selling well this season. “We even have pig-shaped candy,” she said, which is truffle-flavored. 

“Our inventory is packed, it will disappear this weekend and next,” said Jim Abicht, owner of the Christmas Store at 108 Main St. 

Abicht said that although there’s no huge difference between Small Business Saturday and the one before in terms of sales, the seasonal store’s business starts to pick up in September, builds over the months and then maximizes in December. “October is really busy, November is crazy busy, December is chaos,” he said.  

About hot ticket items, Abicht said, “One of the things that we’re running out of is battery-operated glitter lanterns. Basically they’re snow globes in the shape of lanterns. What surprised me is that I’ve sold out two years in a row on them  (after placing a larger order the second year).” 

Betty Clark, owner of the Mansion House Art and Antiques Shop of 120 N. Church St., said “We’ll probably have some treats, cookies or apples” to mark the day. Since antique stores merchandize through separate channels than typical retail stores do, when items run out, Clark said “I don’t pick up the phone and say ‘I need 100 of these.’” 

Nonetheless, the shop owner said she’s noticed an uptick in art purchases this season compared to last, especially in paintings ranging from 1850 to 1950. 

Clark stated that while not a lot of people would pair antique shops with Christmas shopping, a perfect gift for someone could be sitting in her store right now. “You never know what you’ll find,” she said.

Jessica Jones-Healy, president of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, said that “(Small Business Saturday) is a day where we encourage folks to support local small businesses that in turn promote a thriving economy and community.”

In 2010, Small Business Saturday was started by American Express, and in 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the day.   {/mprestriction}