Downtown makes a big deal out of Small Business Saturday
Published 9:41 am Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Sunny skies and friendly merchants greeted shoppers who ventured downtown for Small Business Saturday this past Thanksgiving weekend.
The fifth annual shop-local initiative was nestled snuggly between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to remind consumers that they can find gifts and holiday decor at small stores as well as big-box chains and online retailers.
At Betsy Town Mercantile, co-owner Alyssa Perez nibbled on bread pudding and talked excitedly about her 1-year-old business.
“We opened here one year ago Dec. 6,” she said. “We plan to have an open house next weekend to celebrate the anniversary.”
Perez lives in Johnson City, but she’s originally from New York, so the vibe in downtown Elizabethton is a little quieter than she’s used to.
“But there’s so much potential down here,” she said.
As Perez talked about her merchandise — she’s particularly proud of the Martha Marshall quilts on display near the front of her store — Bill and Carol Eastridge of Bristol stopped by to shop.
As the couple made their way around Perez’s store, Carol pointed out a wooden fish plaque displayed among other home decor merchandise. The Eastridges recently moved to Bristol from northern Minnesota and were looking for items to furnish their new home.
“We’re looking for some old things to mix with the new,” Carol said.
Small Business Saturday was the perfect chance to shop and to get to know Elizabethton, she said.
Joy Williams of Elizabethton’s Lynn Valley community shops downtown regularly, she said.
“I love antiques,” she said as she browsed The Crow’s Nest. “This is my therapy.”
On this particular Saturday, Williams was looking for holiday items to decorate her home. She usually begins decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year she started a little earlier, she said.
Williams proudly showed off the Christmas-themed handkerchiefs she had purchased Saturday morning at Duck’s Crossing.
She was combing downtown shops in search of a holiday centerpiece for her kitchen table. In The Crow’s Nest, on a table filled with bric-a-brac, Williams found a small white basket filled with artificial holly and adorned with a stuffed-felt snowman and a wooden sign that said simply, “Joy.”
She declared it was just what she was looking for and moved on to a nearby shelf where she found two small holiday throw pillows for $2 each.
“You couldn’t beat that at Walmart,” Williams said.
Just up Elk Avenue at The Dressing Room, shop owner Cathy Shoun was straightening clothing on a rack in her boutique.
“We have casual wear, formal wear, wedding dresses, party wear and accessories galore,” she said.
And if that wasn’t enough to bring in the customers, in the back of the store, Shoun had set up a table with punch and cookies.
While some shoppers browsed the stores, a small crowd gathered near the War Memorial to chat up Santa, pose for pictures in an old-fashioned photo booth and spin a wheel for a chance to win a prize from Carter County Bank.
At midday, Lorrie Wilson stepped up to the wheel and spun it for the win.
Given a choice of prizes ranging from baseball caps to coffee mugs, Wilson chose a green and white Carter County Bank umbrella.
She wouldn’t need it Saturday. As Small Business Saturday wrapped up, skies were clear and temperatures were in the mid-50s.