Shop local and take advantage of unique offers, items
by Joshua Maloni
Come "Black Friday," Lewiston retailers hope shoppers skip the "big-box" stores in favor of small businesses.
The village's second foray into the post-turkey sales extravaganza begins at 7 a.m. Nov. 29. This year, eight stores are opening early to offer discounts, prize giveaways and special deals.
'Tis the season.
"Why not extend your shopping spree by shopping small and local in the village?" said Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce. "Many of our retailers are getting into the 'Black Friday' spirit by opening early and offering discounts to jump-start the holiday shopping. We hope that people remember to shop small and shop local this holiday season."
Angel to Apple Clothing & Shoe Boutique owner Jamie Symmonds spearheaded last year's inaugural "Black Friday" event in Lewiston.
"I have been doing it since I opened Angel to Apple. I'm having such success - every year my 'Black Friday' has continued to grow," she explained. "So, my thought process behind it was, 'Imagine if I can get two other businesses, four other businesses, seven other businesses to be involved. And if it could continue to grow like it did for me every year, then eventually maybe we can get people to stay local and shop small business instead of heading out to the big stores.' "
Tony Petrocelli, owner of Lewiston Music, was one of the merchants who participated in last year's "Black Friday" event.
"I had probably three or four people take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free (month of lessons). And out of those three or four, like two of them are still taking lessons a whole year later," he said.
This time around, he plans to convert his front room into a festive spread of holiday cheer and guitar specials. He said he hopes to see more shoppers out and about.
Symmonds and Pauly have worked together to encourage more small business owners from across Center Street to participate this year.
"This year versus last year, there was more preparation and pre-planning of thought put into it ... so I think that alone is going to make a little bit of a difference as far as more people being aware of it, which I think will help," Symmonds said. "By people coming in my store last year, I was able to say also, 'Hey, other businesses are open, as well.' I hope that everyone would do that for one another."
"When you shop local in these small businesses, you find stuff that you aren't going to find in these 'big-box' stores, and definitely more personal attention and customer service than you would in a 'big-box' store," she added.
End of the Road Boutique owner Sherry McDonald echoed that sentiment.
"You're going to get little one-of-a-kind (items)," she said. "People will come in here and they'll buy something that they're not going to find at one of the mall stores.
"Uniqueness; and they'll come back and say, 'Do you have this?' and it's 'Nope; we don't. It's gone.' I only buy one and two.
"That's, I think, the uniqueness of a boutique like this, is that it's a specialty shop. That's what it is."
McDonald is one of the Lewiston merchants also offering specials on "Small Business Saturday," which follows "Black Friday."
"We're opening at 7 a.m. We will be having a gift with every purchase, while supplies last. That will be for 'Black Friday' as well as 'Small Business Saturday.' We'll probably do some refreshments. It's a big weekend for us. Last year ... 'Small Business Saturday' was our best day of the year," she said.
Angel to Apple, likewise, will participate in "Small Business Saturday." Symmonds is offering customers 10 percent off all day, as well as $5 coupons with a purchase. She will also raffle off a gift certificate.
"I think 'Small Business Saturday' is a great event to basically come out and support people that are trying to have a small business in today's world," McDonald said.
'Black Friday' participants:
•Angel to Apple, 451 Center St. - Early-bird promo: The earlier you shop, the more you can save. First person through the door gets 30 percent off; second person saves 25 percent; and third person 20 percent. All others will receive 15 percent off storewide until 11 a.m., then 10 percent off the rest of the day. Shoppers can enter a raffle (with a purchase) to win a pair of boots from the new footwear department.
•D'Avolio, 449 Center St. - The store's 200 ml bottles are two for $16, and the 375 ml are two for $25.
•End of the Road Boutique, 335 Center St. - Shoppers will earn a free gift with purchase, while supplies last.
•Grandpaws Pet Emporium, 784 Center St. - The first 10 pet lovers through the door can take 10 percent off storewide. For everyone else, it's 5 percent off storewide the rest of the day.
•Lewiston Music, 105 S. Fourth St., at Center Street - Buy one month of lessons and get one month free. Rock on!
•Village Goldsmith, 744 Center St. - Guests will receive a shiny 20 percent, storewide discount. Stay and enter for a chance to win diamond-studded earrings (1/3 ctw), a $500 value.
•Susha Shoes, 424 Center St. - Fashionistas receive 20 percent off Italian-made footwear and 40 percent off all other footwear.
•Tuscana Salon & Day Spa, 705 Center St. - "Black Friday" early morning special: From 7-8 a.m., get a nourishing facial and 60-minute massage gift certificate combo for $50 (a $140 value). From 8 a.m. to noon, $100 gift certificates will be on sale for $75. Nourishing facial gift certificates will be $35 (a $70 value), and 60-minute massage gift certificates will be half-off at $35.
All participating stores are expected to open at 7 a.m. on "Black Friday."
Other Lewiston stores are slated to open at their regular time and offer additional "Black Friday" deals.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce has been busy promoting "Small Business Saturday" with the hope of making the date the biggest local shopping day of the year. "Small Business Saturday" is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (right after "Black Friday").
The chamber has encouraged members to assist in building enthusiasm for the day by educating customers about the importance of supporting local businesses when shopping this holiday season. Many members have downloaded the marketing material from the "Shop Small" website (www.shopsmall.com). The chamber has also been fortunate to receive welcome mats, shopping bags, pens, decals, balloons and more as a recognized distributor of material to promote the day. Social media also has been a great way to showcase the day with easy-to-recognize tags such as: #shopsmall, #nov30 and #smallbizsat.
Many retailers have created special promotions within their business for the day, which can be found on the chamber website at www.NiagaraRiverRegion.com.
"Small Business Saturday" was founded by American Express in 2010. The day was created to support small businesses by driving people everywhere to get out and "Shop Small" in their neighborhood.
"The 'Shop Small' movement is a great way for our small, locally owned businesses to get creative and give shoppers a reason to spend with them. American Express has created a great national campaign to encourage people to shop on Nov. 30, and provides an easy way for businesses to market themselves with resources and material online at www.ShopSmall.com. The Niagara River Region is the perfect place for people to experience how small businesses create unique and thriving communities," said Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.