Small Business Saturday caused the streets of downtowns around the area to fill with cars and shoppers. Some were buying and others were just looking around.
In Denison, co-owners at Rust or Bust Boutique, 114, S. Burnett, said they were hoping the day would mean lots of customers. Suzanne Melugin and Crystal Arrington said they have been looking forward to the day for around a month of the four months the shop has been open.
They said they are going to be thankful just to have some people stop by to see the shop because they know that word of mouth is one really good way to attract new customers. In fact, one of their customers, Karen Williams, said her niece had sent her to the shop to look for their distressed flannels. The store also sells furniture, home décor, custom art and signs and boutique clothing.
The two said they know that their location off Main Street means it is up to them to get the word out about what they offer. Saturday they put out signs and balloons to help people find their way into their store.
On Main Street, an 80 percent off everything in the store sign was pulling people’s attention to SJ’s Cruff, 405 W. Main. Kimberly Adcock and her family, from Oklahoma, stopped in to look around because of the sign. Their daughter Lily took a fancy to the bows and other frilly items on sale. Owner Jessica Northcutt said her plan for the day was to move the rest of her inventory so she could close the shop.
Northcutt said Black Friday had been huge for her store, due in part, no doubt, to the 80 percent off sale. She was expecting another busy day Saturday. Those who think they might have missed out on the clothing and accessories offered for little girls at SJ’s can find them at her original store, 1503 W. Evergreen in Durant, Oklahoma. Northcutt said she was closing the Denison store for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest was the lack of good help. She said she hired and trained 14 people in the last year and none of them worked out. Whether they were stealing from her or just couldn’t manage to get to work on time, she said, she didn’t have time to devote to staffing.
When asked why people should shop small, Northcutt said it is all about the type of service that one just can’t get at a large chain store.
Over in Sherman, Colleen Barnes, owner of Simply Puzzled, 2010 Loy Lake Road in Sherman, agreed. She has had the business for 20 years in three different locations. She said word of mouth is one of her most successful ways to get new business. Whether that comes from a mother who asked that she rush a bow to match a picture day outfit or a mom whose daughter’s birthday party was a hit, it all brings in new business.
“Just offering a service makes a huge difference,” she said. The service offered by Simply Puzzled is a birthday party or tea party for little girls that includes dressing up, a fashion parade and a tea. Barnes said Small Business Saturday just reminds people to make the effort to shop local.
“Our main customer likes service. They like someone to take the time to visit with them find out what they need and help them find it,” Barnes said.
They also like that special something extra, she said, and at her shop that can mean anything from a personalized bow to embroidered clothing.
“The bows are actually our specialty,” she said. “People bring in an outfit and I make them a bow to match perfectly.”
Offering something a little extra is also a big thing at Glitzy Girlz Boutique, 100 W. Crockett in Sherman. Noting that the store opened on Small Business Saturday two years ago, manager Holy Murphy said, “Our customers in the last two years have become like family.”
She said they were business on Black Friday, and they expected to be busy Saturday as well. But they want that to continue throughout the season. To do that, she said, the staff just follows the business’ theme of “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.”
She said they want customers to know that what they want and need is super important to the staff.
“We can help you pick out a gift, or we can pair an outfit for yourself,” she said. “We have had a lady come in and say ‘Y’all just dress me because when I leave here I feel so good. I know that when I walk out the door I am going to be put together.’”
It is also important, she said that small businesses in town help each other out whenever they can. She said if a customer is looking for something that they don’t have but they think another small business might carry, they will send that customer to the other store.
“It’s not a competition. We are all in this together,” she said of small businesses.