Local Shippensburg businesses hope to see push on Small Business Saturday
By AMBER SOUTH
SHIPPENSBURG — Promoting small business has been a top priority in Shippensburg lately, and the third annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 could be the climax of that effort so far.
Recognizing the need for an economic push downtown, Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce Director Scott Brown got on top of the game and used flyers and Facebook to invigorate small businesses and their customers. He hopes the promotion will kick start a wave of business that will go past the holiday season and help improve life downtown and the identity of Shippensburg.
“It’s tough and so we’re encouraging as many people as possible to shop local and to think about the things they’re going to buy for Christmas or the holidays and see if they can purchase some of that stuff downtown,” Brown said.
One downtown business heeding that call is East Meets West Emporium,29 E. King St. The retailer caters mostly to women and is home to a mish-mash of popular brands such as Vera Bradley, Brighten, Polish Pottery, Lindsey Phillips shoes and much more.
“We have 3,100 square feet of awesome products,” said owner Linda Hartman.
Doing their part on SBS, East Meets West will have specials on newly retired varieties of Vera Bradley bags and many other items. Large discounts will be applied to fall candles and Thanksgiving merchandise.
Hartman said the effect of SBS on her store has grown every year since it officially began three years ago with a push from American Express.
“It really makes people realize if you shop locally the money stays in the community and you’re helping local people keep their employment and stores to stay in business,” she said. “It’s more important than it’s ever been.”
A self-proclaimed upscale consignment shop that offers “New York City fashions at small town prices,” Déjà Vu Boutique at 7 S. Earl St. is offering 50 percent off mostly everything in the store Nov. 24 – a sale extended from Black Friday, said owner Essee Martin. Only Ugg boots are excluded from the special.
“Ugg boots are always a hot item,” Martin said. “I sold more Ugg boots up ’til now this year than I (did) last year.”
According to Martin, about 80 percent of items in now are new but gently used items also mingle within. Items range from street clothes like shirts, jeans and pants, handbags and more, as well as formal wear for women, men and children. And, Déjà Vu is the largest retailer of wigs in the area, Martin said.
Business at the boutique Black Friday was steady since opening at 10 a.m. – the normal time – and Martin anticipates the trend will continue tomorrow, especially given the advertising she put out. The store will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The other years I just assumed people aren’t looking for this type of thing. I thought, you know what, let’s do a 50 percent off sale and maybe it will make a difference,” she said.
A special event Nov. 24 at the Firefighters Activities Center, 33 E. Orange St., will promote the large portion of small businesses that do business online or out of a home rather than in a dedicated store.
Cumberland Valley Grange will host the second annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Craft and Business Faire from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“So much of small business in our area (are) direct sale people,” said CVG President Lizzie Bailey.
The event will feature at least 12 crafters from throughout the region, Bailey said Wednesday. According to the event flyer, some of these are Clever Container, Scentsy, Knutty Knitter, Flipped Out Flip Flops and more. CVG will provide a variety of homemade food, including turkey corn soup, pizza soup, and pulled pork sandwiches.
“We wanted to merge the things together, small businesses and crafters. A lot of crafters are in small business too,” Bailey said.
As usual, many men will tear open wrapping paper this year to find a brand new power tool or tool set. But at the historic Pague and Fegan Hardware, King Street, Black Friday has not been made a big event for some time and SBS is something manager and co-owner Doug Lyons just recently learned about. To that end, the store is not running any particular specials except for its typical bargain-of-the-month promotion and a circular sale.
However, Lyons said the variety of tool sets the store carries move quickly during holiday shopping time. Kitchen appliances like deep fryers and roaster and also popular items.
Lyons said he is put off by the downtown business economy. Growing up in the 1980s, every storefront downtown was filled, he said. While he recognizes that the chamber and the group Downtown Organizations Investing Together have done much to boost the downtown area, he does not think the community has responded enough.
“It’s tough, but hopefully it will get better,” he said.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.