by Terry Rogers
Despite an electrical outage that prevented Santa from arriving from the North Pole on Saturday, November 28, merchants in the downtown area say that local residents still came out to do some shopping on Small Business Saturday. According to Mark Whitfield, City Manager, the electric outage was due to a traffic accident that involved a utility pole in the early morning hours of November 28.
“Luckily for us, the power outage was on the opposite side of the street, so we were not impacted,” Stephanie Tatman of Dolce said. “We felt so much love and support from our community on Small Business Saturday! The streets of downtown were noticeably less busy without the traditions of Santa’s arrival in the morning and the Tree Lighting Ceremony. It wasn’t a record Small Business Saturday, yet Dolce still sold out of everything in stock. What more could we ask of our community?”
Jennifer Harris of Harrington came to Blooming Boutique to do some of her Christmas shopping, stating that she wanted to do as much as she could to support small businesses this holiday season.
“I am not really fond of online shopping and I know that small businesses are really struggling right now,” Harris said. “Since it was Small Business Saturday, I wanted to see if I could find some of my gifts at local places rather than go to the Outlets or the Mall.” Harris was shopping after electricity had been restored in downtown Milford.
Eugenia Sparks of Irish Rose also had a busy day on Small Business Saturday.
“Sales exceeded last year by 10 percent, more than anticipated,” Sparks said. “Facebook, television and newspaper advertising made a difference for us this year. The discounts we offered were well received and since the electrical outage was on the other side of the street, we were not inconvenienced. A heartfelt thank you to all of the customers who supported Irish Rose this past weekend.”
Rous and Angie Robles of My Sisters Fault normally have a slow weekend after Thanksgiving as everyone still has leftovers, but this year was much different.
“We were surprisingly busy,” Angie said. “We offered first-come, first-served cakes and trays before Thanksgiving. We offered over 40 different suites and sold over 600 of them! We are planning to do the same for Christmas.” My Sisters Fault also offers savory options, including empanadas, sandwiches and more.
Downtown merchants are reminding everyone that shopping local is important throughout the holiday season, especially this year. Many small businesses were forced to close for more than two months earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the month of December, downtown businesses are offering discounts and promotions to encourage shoppers to search for gifts at local stores. Some are offering expanded online shopping options for customers who are still uncomfortable going into public places due to the virus.