NEWPORT, VT - It's the holidays and Americans have already hit the stores on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the virtual stores on Cyber Monday. Local merchants are geared up and excited to serve the community. From one end of the Northeast Kingdom to the other, they are looking for your business.
Shopping local means supporting our community. Just ask these guys!
“We had a really good Black Friday,” said Chris Hamblett, owner of Pick and Shovel Hardware in Newport City. “People were out in full force and sales were ahead of last year for the same day.” However, midday Saturday, things were slower than expected.
Jim Sullivan, owner of Audio Carve on Route 105 just outside of Newport City, said his store has been preparing for the shopping days for for a week. “We knew a lot of sales were coming up so we just told everybody that if you want something, Friday and Saturday would be the time to get it,” said Sullivan late Saturday morning. “Yesterday was really good; today is a little slower.”
Business was still up from previous years. Sullivan wasn’t sure why but suggested residents are looking to shop locally. Phones and remote car starters are some of this year’s hot items.
Laurie Poirier of Westmore went to Audio Carve Saturday to purchase cellular phones for herself and her daughters. Shopping local helps local businesses, Poirier said. She plans to return to Audio Carve to purchase a remote car starter.
The story was pretty much the same in Newport’s downtown. Katy Kavanagh, owner of Alexandra’s Kitchenware and Gifts, said that Friday was typical of any Black Friday in Newport. She suggested some residents may have gone out of town for the huge sales, but those in town for the weekend shopped locally before heading home. She hopes the promotions she is running with Jeb’s Maple Products will encourage area residents to come in. Kavanagh also ran special sales on Saturday.
Ed Morley of Newport City stopped at the Woodknot Book Shop and Turner’s Café for a tasty treat after buying a gift at the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative. For Morley, shopping locally is important.
“It helps the local people,” said Morley, who is generally with the selection in the Northeast Kingdom. “Sometimes you have to use the Internet.”
Kris Waagen, owner the bookshop and café, said things are usually quiet in Newport on Black Friday, which is when many people hit the malls and box stores that offer deals on lager items they can’t find in town. “It’s hard to compete against that,” said Waagen. “Our best friends are driving to Manchester, NH, and they live right here in town.”
Waagen said his store usually does well on smaller items between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Black Friday was an average day for Steve Carpenter of Auto Outfitters in Derby. He said many people wait until the last minute to buy the items he sells. Carpenter suggested the hot items are remote car starters and gift certificates.
Nathan Cochran, owner of the Great Outdoors at the Waterfront Plaza, was pleased about the turnout on both days. He said his store has many of the things shoppers want. Some of the hot items are outdoor clothes. Cochran won’t have final tallies until early this week.
Lisa and Allan Desroches, owners of Suzy-Lynn’s Gifts and Half-Off Cards at the Waterfront Plaza, are pleased with the weekend. Lisa Desroches said many people are trying their best to shop locally. Allan Desroches added that even some Canadians took advantage of the sales on this side of the border.
It's the season to give gifts, and whether those gifts are a new tool, a piece of clothing, sweets for the sweet, gift certificates or even a night out for bowling, a movie or dinner, money spent locally gives three times: to the community, to the recipient, and to you.