Local shops see positive results from Small?Business Saturday

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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The nationwide Small Business Saturday campaign struck a chord in Auburn. It was great reinforcement for shopping local, according to Liz Briggs, co-owner of Downtown’s Auburn Drug Co. and treasurer of Think Auburn First. “I think people are actually thinking about shopping local now,” she said. “This last weekend was our best shopping day in years and years. … We were just slammed. We had lots of customers and everyone was in a good mood. We’re going back to the small-town shopping and it’s really terrific.” Briggs said she didn’t realize American Express had started the campaign last year. She learned about this year’s drive when she saw it on TV. “We’ll tie in more next year,” she said. “With Think Auburn First, the message is getting out there. It takes a little while, but it is happening more and more. People are shopping local and buying things made in America. For our store, it’s great because we have a lot of products made in America.” At Auburn Needleworks in the Gold Country Mall, sales associate Gerrie Martin said it was a good day for the store. “A lot of people said when they came in, ‘This is Small Business Saturday and that’s why I’m here,’” she said. “It was busy all day long.” It helped to bring in people, said Lois Granstrom, owner of the Chocolate Shoppe and Gift Emporium in Downtown. “It was so nice. People were in such a good mood, so nice and relaxed. Families were out. They were showing off Auburn to relatives.” For Jessica Woods, owner of Downtown’s Ro-Sham-bo clothing store, it was “an awesome day.” “I had so many people mention that’s why they were out and it was one of my best days yet,” said Woods, who took over the business in September. “Black Friday was my best day yet. … With all the families in town, it was a beautiful day to be out walking around. … I wish every day was Small Business Saturday.” At South of the Border in Old Town’s Gold Rush Plaza, owner Natalie Osborne said her store saw quite a bit of foot traffic, with some customers taking advantage of the American Express $25 credit for charges made to the card on Small Business Saturday. “It was a very good day,” she said. Nearby, at the Silver Store, Mimi Lovisa described Saturday as a “fabulous day for the store,” and said she definitely had more visitors than on the same date last year. “A lot of the people who came in said they were coming in to support the local community,” she added. Georgetown Clothing Co. in Downtown prepared in advance for Small Business Saturday, sending an e-mail about it to customers. So a lot of the store’s regular visitors came in, store manager Wendy Sabins said. “We offered something for them,” she said. “We had a really good day.” Not all local businesses benefited from the promotion. Shelle Parsons, owner of the Gold Country Mall’s Book Haven, said she saw little difference in the number of customers from the same Saturday in 2010. “A few people mentioned (Small Business Saturday) but my Saturday was not as good as last year,” she said.