Local businesses busy for Black Friday

By LAURA CARPENTERExpress Staff WriterLocal businesses were busy for the so-called Black Friday; known as one of the busiest shopping days across the country. However, most said that business increases as Christmas Day approaches.Although businesses were busy, response was mixed when compared to last year’s activity. Some were busier this year, while others said they were busy, but not quite as busy as last year on the same day.But all are enthused by the push to shop locally.Country Thyme, a specialty food and gift store on Route 111 in Derby, was hopping with customers.Anne Plaskonos was one of the many customers. She comes up every year from Connecticut to visit family, and to shop in the area.“We love shopping here,” she said of Country Thyme. “We shop here all the time when we come up to visit.”Plaskonos’ children, Blanche and Henri, were busy exploring the children’s section of the store. When asked what she found that she liked the best, Blanche threw her arms open and shouted “everything,” with a big smile.Vicky Fecteau of Holland was shopping Friday and said she thinks more people should shop locally because “It’s much better than traveling to the big cites." She said she really likes Country Thyme because of the “different and unique finds.”Store staff reported being very busy Friday, as they are every year.The MAC Center for the Arts on Main Street in Newport was also busy Friday, busier than last year, and seemed encouraged by the turnout.Isobel Marks of Newport Center, a MAC artist, said she thinks the Wall Street Occupation movement is leading to more people supporting their local businesses.The MAC is usually closed on Tuesdays and Sundays through the winter, however the Center will be open on Tuesdays through December, and closed only Sundays.Every item in the MAC was created by local artists.Items include paintings, photography, ceramics, fused glass, jewelry, ornaments, quilted items, dolls, and doll furniture, puzzles, knit wear, pottery, soaps, and repurposed clothing.Wider that the Sky, Children’s Books and Pastimes was busy Friday, but not quite as busy as the same day last year said store owner Diane Jameson. But Jameson said business picks up through December.The store is full of the latest books and innovative toys including the new Zibits remote control robots, and the new Tolo line, which is ideal for very young children.Katy Kavanagh, owner of Alexandra’s Kitchenware and Gifts also reported being busy Friday. She said she is enthusiastic about the push to shop in small towns, and is hopeful for the downtown area with the new restaurants opening.