Some Shops Report Better Sales, Others See a Dip
While Thanksgiving weekend is synonymous with stuffing one’s mouth with turkey and leftovers, it has been transformed into the time when people take advantage of some of the best sales right before the thick of the holiday season.
But beyond big box stores and online, local small businesses still shuffle for room and attention amongst giants like Amazon.
From 2010-18, spending on Small Business Saturday had reached a reported estimate of $103 billion, according to data from American Express.
It was estimated that in 2018 more than 104 million people shopped and dined on Small Business Saturday generating a record $17.8 billion in reported spending — up from $12.9 million in 2017.
This past Saturday, U.S. consumers spent $19.6 billion at small businesses, according to survey data from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.
For small businesses, everything can be a factor for foot traffic, whether it’s the economy, the weather, even construction just down the road.
Here’s what a few business owners across the North Shore had to say on how they did on the busy shopping weekend.
The East End Shirt Co., 3 Mill Creek Road, Port Jefferson — owner Mary Joy Pipe:
Pipe has been at the head of the famed custom screen-printed design shop for years, and was recently named president of the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
“We had a very good day and we were pleased with how many people came out. It was nice to see how customers were expressing their support for local businesses.
“My business gets a lot of transient customers [from the village] but we also had a lot of locals and repeat customers come in. Sales were up a little bit from last year — we always try to offer great deals.
“Being in business for 40 years, I think the nice weather on Saturday really helped and I think it helped other businesses in the area as well.
“I think it’s good to show that there can be a happy medium of online and small business shopping.”
Niche Boutique, 430-11 N. Country Road, St. James — owner Christine Mazelis:
Niche Boutique, which was once located on Lake Avenue, moved over onto North Country Road earlier this year, opening in time for the Black Friday weekend.
“The store was offering 10-30 percent off a minimum purchase of $50.
“We had a really nice day, with the new location we have definitely noticed the increase in foot traffic. There is definitely a different vibe in this location. I was very happy with the turnout and sales, we had returning and new customers coming throughout the day.”
Red Shirt Comics, 322 Main St., Port Jefferson — owner Josh Darbee:
Red Shirt Comics, which opened in 2017, has been a mainstay for the comics community in the local area. Last year, Darbee said he saw a steady stream of customers walk through his doors Small Business Saturday.
“We had Black Friday sales throughout the weekend. … Saturday went pretty poorly we didn’t see the foot traffic and sales as in years past.
“The weather might have had something to do with it, people are not going to go out as much when it’s cold.
“We saw an initial crowd of holiday customers earlier in November. The people that did stop by [Saturday] bought a lot of books, periodicals and comic books.”
The Gift Corner, 157 N. Country Road, Mount Sinai — owner Marion Bernholz:
The Gift Corner owner Bernholz has over the last several years gone to lengths to promote her store on the Black Friday weekend. Over the past few years she reported good sales on Small Business Saturday.
“We had a wonderful day. It was one of our best Small Business Saturday [events], sales were way up. “We had so many regulars and new customers come in throughout the day.
“We have a good following [of customers] and many of them told us that they came out just to support us on Saturday.
“People are decorating their houses for the holidays, so many were buying Christmas signs, ornaments and other festive items. We have a lot of different areas in the store so a lot of customers we are trying to find some nice gifts for their families or their dogs.
“I think it is really refreshing that people continue to come out on Small Business Saturday and remember that we are here.”