One day after hitting the stores for the Black Friday sales, Saratoga Springs was crowded once again for Small Business Saturday.
Midway through an afternoon of Christmas shopping, Dawn Darkes and her daughter Charley needed a little something to warm up at the Saratoga Tea and Honey Co.
“We are big coffee and tea lovers, getting special drinks, that’s our thing when we go away,” Charley Darkes-Burkey said as she waited for her chai tea latte.
Celebrating the holidays from out of town, the whole family was going shop-to-shop on Small Businesses Saturday.
“When I can I prefer to support local,” Darkes said. “I think local businesses have more customer service and awareness of their products. I also think the variety is there because they’re looking for more unique items for their shoppers, so I like it.”
“Oh my gosh it is the best, it’s the best,” Saratoga Tea and Honey Co. owner Haley Stevens said. “We are really lucky to have such a supportive community.”
Stevens says Small Business Saturday is always one of the busiest days of the year because the community goes out of its way to promote its local shops.
“When you support a small business it is very likely you are supporting many sub-small businesses,” Stevens said. “A lot of our vendors are local people, people who are making pottery, people who are making beeswax products so it’s been really wonderful.”
At Impressions of Saratoga, co-owners Mare Baker and Maddy Zanetti say this weekend is typically a bellwether for the entire holiday shopping season.
“It’s been very good and very busy, it started early too,” Baker said. “We are used to November being a little quiet in the beginning but that was not the case this year.”
Zanetti says global concerns like supply chain issues may actually be driving more shoppers into local stores.
“People got in the habit of buying local last year and they’re continuing that this year,” Zanetti said. “They want to know that they have the item they want to give in-hand, they don’t have to wait and worry about whether it’s going to make it in time.”
“We had our best Black Friday ever, it was great,” said Jennifer Marcellus, who opened Miss Scarlett Boutique 12 years ago. “We had a huge response both online and in-store.”
Especially after a tough year and a half of staying in business throughout a pandemic, Marcellus says it’s gratifying to see so many shoppers downtown.
“It’s been really great to see that so many regular customers have been back and have been throughout the pandemic and ordering online when we were closed down, that was huge for us,” she said.
As they made their way throughout downtown, many shoppers feel supporting local businesses is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
“I think we’re finding it wonderful, lots of variety in the shops and a very quaint feel about the types of shops we’ve been shopping in and a festive feel with all the people around,” Darkes said.