WATERTOWN – Cathie Ellsworth and her partners had no interest in Black Friday.
The owners of Paddock Art & Antiques were gearing up for the busiest day of holiday shopping for northern merchants – small businesses on Saturday.
They were in their antique store in the Paddock Arcade, where they hope to be busy later this morning with shoppers looking for those perfect Christmas gifts.
On Friday afternoon, she, her partner Lynn Chavoustie and daughter Kira Elliot were setting up holiday decorations, restocking shelves and cleaning their store to get ready for the big day.
“We have been looking forward to it all year round,” said Ms Ellsworth.
Small Business Saturday – with its “local shop” mantra equates to Black Friday for these merchants.
As it has done for the past seven years, Watertown First, a local group that helps stimulate and increase the visibility of local businesses in downtown Watertown, hosted the annual holiday event, which will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic made the event virtual and prevented shoppers from flocking to the Paddock Arcade. But this year, for artisans and other vendors, special discounts in city stores and, of course, the man in the red suit and white beard will be back.
This year, a dozen vendors in the arcade will be joined by a second location in the old storefront that housed downtown Julie Brown ReMarket, 40 Public Square, with another dozen vendors selling their wares. The Grinch will also be there.
Some businesses that are not normally open on Saturdays are participating and will be opening their doors for the event.
And buyers don’t have to worry about supply chain issues. Local traders say their shelves are well stocked.
Watertown First Managing Director Amanda Stickel is excited about the prospect of attracting up to 500 local buyers.
“We encourage buyers to stop at both locations,” she said.
In recent days, Watertown First and merchants have distributed flyers listing local businesses participating in Small Business Saturday.
For the first year, the Watertown Downtown Business Association is also directly involved in the organization of the event, with 41 participating companies.
Joseph Wessner, chairman of the DBA, said it was the only day of the year devoted entirely to local businesses.
“It is attracting local attention,” he said.
Shopkeeper Trina Decastro, who owns Luxebelle in the Franklin Building, isn’t sure what to expect today.
She opened a boutique for womenswear and children’s dancewear last month, so this is her first small business Saturday.
She’s offering a 30% store-wide discount to celebrate the occasion.
“We have a lot of new items in the store,” she said.
Other communities in the north of the country, such as Sackets Harbor, also have their own small business Saturday promotions.
While no particular events are planned for Lewis County, small businesses make up a large part of the economy. Many hold open days with various raffles, discounts, drinks and even cookies.
All over the county, but especially in Lowville, villages have clusters of businesses offering crafts and gift certificates for services or facilities.
The village-wide Christmas celebration of Croghan, Maple & Mistletoe coincides with Small Business Shopping Day.
The rural county also has a number of farm shops, art studios and other isolated shops in the hopes of drawing people off the beaten track.
The Foothills Market on Route 12 in West Lowville, opened October 8 by owners Jennifer and Christopher Kain, features crafts, antiques, historical memorabilia, collectibles and unique creations from dozens of vendors and vendors. local artists.
“I would just like to see the community come and go not only to visit our store, but also all of the other local stores,” Ms. Kain said. “I know department stores have issues with their supply chains, but we’re not here … where we have more unique things and our shelves are full.”
Times editor Julie Abbass contributed to this story.