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Merchants Say Small Business Saturday Was a Success

WOODBURY – Maison St. Germain has been selling vintage clothing, furniture, and home décor in town for seven years. Co-owner Nicole Perez has never seen the shop as busy as it was on Small Business Saturday.

“It was Amazing,” Perez said. “We were jam packed from before we opened until after we closed. There were no less than 20 people in the store at all times.”

Maison St. Germain was not alone. Old-school country store Canfield Corner owner Mary Tyrrell said she had a similar constant flow through her shop on Saturday.

“We had a constant flow of traffic all day,” Tyrrell said. “We normally close at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, but we didn’t close until after 4 p.m. because people were still coming in.”

An American Express-driven shopping holiday, Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ pressing need to get more customers.

According to the American Express FAQ page, merchants do not need to use American Express’s services to participate in Small Business Saturday. In fact, you don’t even need to be a merchant to download or order Small Business Saturday promotional materials.

Though American Express reported that Small Business Saturday sales and traffic were down compared to Small Business Saturday 2016, communities like Woodbury, which assisted merchants, did see an uptick.

The Town of Woodbury’s Business and Economic Development Committee received $1,600 from the town to help promote Woodbury as a shopping destination. The BEDC created a complimentary town wide “Shop Small” event to draw shoppers into town.

BEDC chairman Karen Reddington-Hughes said the idea was to unify small businesses and promote all their offerings and in-store events as a whole.

Promotional materials included an advertisement which included the names of all the businesses involved, yard signs, a Facebook page, and blue and white balloons which were hung outside businesses.

Though Woodbury does get a fair share of out-of-state weekend visitors, both Perez and Tyrrell said they did see a lot of new faces in their shops. But as great as that was, both Perez and Tyrrell said they were so busy that they weren’t able to talk with each customer to find out how they found out about their stores.

“We tried to greet and be personal with everyone who came in, but there were some we just didn’t get a chance to,” Tyrrell said.

By including all participating merchants in a unified message, Tyrell added that the BEDC’s efforts did help turn Small Business Saturday into a town wide event.

“What’s nice is people came to all the businesses in town,” Tyrell said. “It wasn’t like some of the other things that happen where it’s a destination, like Earth Day and some of the things at Hollow Park. This one, if they came for the day, they did some shopping, they stayed for dinner.”

Perez added that she felt her location had something to do with it. Being in Middle Quarter Mall, she added that people who shopped at Maison St. Germain were also likely to stay in the shopping center and shop at Jewelry Café and eat at Annoula’s Diner.

Perez also said she hoped people were drawn into Middle Quarter Mall by her kids. They grabbed drivers’ attention on Main Street South while dressed as a Santa Panda and elves.

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