By Erin Beck
Small Business Saturday drew a flurry of deal hunters from both Shinnston and surrounding areas to downtown. Window shoppers and gift-givers gravitated to local businesses offering discounts on presents, seasonal décor and holiday treats and candy.
Dale’s Daily Deals was especially busy. Several shoppers noted they’d been impressed with the discounts there.
Robin Shingleton, of Shinnston, was shopping with her mother, Willa Queen, of Cass, at the Pike Street shop.
“These are great deals here at Dale’s Deals,” Shingleton said. “These have been the best ones.”
They had also just made a few purchases at Home Style. They were specifically in search of toys for South Harrison High School’s annual toy run for children in need.
“Black Friday’s a little too big for us,” she said.
Lisa Brown, of Salem, had seen Dale’s Daily Deals’ video promotion on Facebook. She was shopping for her grandsons.
“So I wanted to stop by and support small business,” she said.
She had visited a few businesses in Salem and done some online shopping but also skipped shopping at big box stores on Friday.
“I did a lot of my Black Friday shopping online,” she said, noting that she likes to avoid crowds.
Amanda Sayers, the owner of Home Style, said the Christmas season is her busiest time of year.
“It’s been a good day,” she said. “We’ve seen lots of friends and lots of people coming through here and supporting small today.”
Multiple media outlets have reported that shoppers are skipping in-person shopping after Thanksgiving for online sales.
“Black Friday, from my understanding, has kind of been a thing of the past,” Sayers said. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people even Walmart and Target were kind of dead on Friday. I think the local communities are more apt to come out on Saturdays versus Fridays just because they’re our friends. They want to see the businesses succeed. They want to be able to shop here year after year, so this is the perfect day to support everybody.
She noted that “Walmart and Target don’t care about how your grandma’s doing, but we do.”
Sayers, who as the vice-president of the Shinnston Development Authority and a City Council member, also works on economic development in the city, planned to shop after her store closed.
James Coulter, the president of the Authority, is also focused on that task, and was a shopper himself as well.
“I just love this every year, just seeing people walk around downtown and seeing it be like what it used to be…,” he said. “I just look forward to it. We’re actually making a day out of it.”
Teresa Wallace, of Folsom in Wetzel County, was perusing the screen-printed shirts at T&M Value Haven. That business also drew a crowd. The store gave free gift bags to the first ten shoppers.
“This is my favorite small business,” Wallace said with a laugh, noting that her daughter, Tiffany Ash, and her husband Mark, own it. “Look what they’ve accomplished here. They’re working hard at it and are going to make it a success, I’m sure.”
Lori Casto of Connecticut, along with daughter Melissa Reali and her boyfriend Scott Baribeau, were perusing that business as well.
“It’s a very nice little town and lots of cute shops, and people are very friendly,” Reali said.
They were on their way to Florida for a Disney cruise for her sister Jailynn’s wedding in the Bahamas.
Lori Casto’s husband Randy Casto said his family, including some living relatives, were from Shinnston.
He said he used to stay with his aunt Nancy who lived nearby, pointing to the building next to Dale’s Daily Deals, across the cross street.
“When I was like 7 years old, so we’re talking 40, 45 years ago, I was in that building, so I wanted to stop and take some pictures,” he said. “My wife and everybody’s doing some shopping, my wife and grandkids. It’s good to be back in town actually, just the memories and seeing all the old buildings.”
He recalled when the side streets were brick as well as a toy store, now closed, although the family also noted that the town has plenty of businesses now.
His grandparents and father came from the area; he used to visit Shinnston with his now-deceased father.
“I’m letting the girls do a little shopping,” he said. “I’m doing picture-taking and reminiscing.”
Sarah Benson, who owns Soul Miner’s Daughter, was selling her all-natural, organic and homemade health and beauty products. Some products use herbs she grows herself.
“I have a hard time picking a lane so it’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “Bath and body stuff, some cold and cough stuff, some teas, jewelry, I do like to do the jewelry, and of course, goat’s milk soap is a really big thing around here.
“Goat’s milk soap alone has a lot of health benefits and then of course I infuse it with some lavender or some pine stuff for the men.”
She said she offered discounts Saturday but hadn’t even needed to promote them.
“It’s been really busy,” she said. “This is the most people I’ve seen short of opening day. I really think people are just out today.”