Find all the special deals below
By Joshua Maloni
Monday was a special day for Angel to Apple Clothing & Shoe Boutique owner Jamie Symmonds. Her adorable poodle, Willow - who's almost as well known in the Village of Lewiston as Symmonds - turned 9. The two walked across the street to Grandpaws Pet Emporium to celebrate the event.
"She got a new treat; they pulled out the Christmas stuff for her," Symmonds said. "Just for her to go through, because they know I'd probably buy her something. But they know Willow. They know me. They know what we like. It's that special attention that you get that you just can't get at a bigger store."
By now, those who live in the River Region are used to this level of customer service. Store owners here actually take time to learn names and find special products perfectly suited for particular tastes.
"I think that's exactly what you'll find here in Lewiston. Whether it's going to D'Avolio, because they do great gift baskets there. Or you go down the street to Canterbury Place or one of the antique shops and find a great gift for somebody. There's so many different shops, and what they offer, that you're kind of guaranteed to find something for everybody that you're looking for on your list," Symmonds said.
One weekend a year, Lewiston retailers and restaurateurs invite the community - and those from across Western New York - to "think big, and shop small." In other words, skip the trip to the national chain stores and spend time (and dollars) exploring the River Region's unique, locally owned businesses.
On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday - the two days following Thanksgiving - more than 20 area retailers and food store owners will offer sizeable discounts, contests and holiday merriment along main streets.
"Last year, I specifically remember a couple of customers saying they were making a point to shop local this year - not just with me, but doing the best they could to get all of their Christmas presents at small businesses, which I thought was fantastic," Symmonds said. "A lot of times, what you might buy at a bigger chain store or a 'big box' store is something you can get possibly at your local store."
In fact, Village Bake Shoppe owner Mike Fiore said, "Lewiston has everything. We have it all here. Excellent food, wonderful retail outlets, the best dessert in the world. Wonderful products. You're going to get great service - more personalized service. You're going to be helping out the local economy and really bringing back that old-fashioned Christmas by staying away from the 'big box' retailers and coming to a nice village like we've got here."
While shoppers will undoubtedly walk away, cheerfully, with bags of swag, Symmonds said the rewards extend beyond simple goods and services.
"Not only are you shopping local and finding maybe something that's just a little more unique or special compared to what you get at a bigger store, you're ultimately supporting your community and the people in it," she said.
Neil Garfinkel of Sgt. Peppers Hot Sauces, Etc., said, "When everybody shops small, it has a really big impact on our community. It helps us all."
The Village Bake Shoppe's Mike Fiore holds one of his store's holiday baskets. Starting next week, "We switch gears from pies and all of our Thanksgiving desserts to jumping right into our Christmas baskets, cookie trays - shipping those out for our commercial customers all over the country," he said.
Olivia Nicoletti poses with some products inside D'Avolio Olive Oils and Vinegars.
Fun for people - and pets. Pictured are Neil Garfinkel of Sgt. Peppers Hot Sauces, Etc., left, and Karen Nowak, Lady and Andy Bell of Grandpaws Pet Emporium. Both stores will offer special deals next weekend.
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