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Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday Puts Local Stores in Shopping Spotlight


Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

 by Meg Barone

Published 11:23 p.m., Saturday, November 24, 2012


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Shoppers in Milford got a jump start on Small Business Saturday by patronizing the downtown boutiques Friday night after the Christmas Tree lighting on the green.


They returned in force Saturday for the officially designated day, which started two years ago nationwide to support small, local businesses in an effort to capitalize on the shopping momentum that begins with Black Friday.


"I know there are irresistible bargains at 4 a.m. at the mall, but in their hearts they (shoppers) want to support small businesses," said Linda McIntyre, owner of Villa Gourmet, who thinks "Every day should be Small Business Saturday."


Paul Mangels, owner of H. Mangels Confectioner, said he lost track of the number of people who asked how his shop is doing. "They worry that if (a small business) closes it's gone forever," he said. The outpouring of support on Saturday bolstered bottom lines and confidence. "It's nice to hear how much people care. It's encouraging," he said.


Judging by the turnout, they really do care. Stores were bustling with people who jockeyed for position in aisles clogged with shoppers, some making routine purchases and others taking care of their holiday gift lists.


Nicki Telep and Lauren Favia, employees of Ocean's Spray Interiors, said the shop was "constantly busy" all day Saturday. They shopped for holiday ornaments and home decor items.


"I'm not shopping for the holidays but I want to support small businesses," said Deborah Mollica, of Shelton. Mollica said she was in the market for a camera and took her business to Milford Photo instead of a big box store, "and while I'm here (in Milford) I'll go to other stores." Sean McGinley, of Milford, and his son Liam, 12, saw a desk in the window of Ocean's Spray Interiors on Broad Street Friday when they attended the tree-lighting ceremony and returned to buy it on Saturday. Sean McGinley said he looked for gifts for his wife as well, which he couldn't do Friday because she was with him.


"They (small business owners) should do this more often. They need the support. They need the help. They have one-of-a-kind pieces. At the big box stores everyone has the same kind of stuff. It's mass produced. It's not special. Here, it's unique. That's why we go shopping here," McGinley said.


"Sometimes you have to find things in special places," said Kimberly Mas, of West Haven, who was laden with shopping bags.


Trisha Pasquini, of Milford, said it was her two granddaughters Logan, 9, and Allie, 7, who are visiting from North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holiday, who reminded her about Small Business Saturday. "They made some purchases and so did I," Pasquini said.


Catherine Garber, of Stratford, shopped with Mary Lou Brown who was visiting from Lititz, Penn. "We are big supporters of local, so we specifically came out to go to a particular business. We usually like to shop locally and little," Garber said.


There is something else that's unique besides the merchandise, she said. "It's more fun and more friendly to go into a small shop," Garber said.


"I want to support our local businesses. Milford needs it right now. After the storm (Superstorm Sandy) people are trying to make money and hang in there. We just spent our fair share," said Karen Rapuano, herself a small business owner. Rapuano, of Milford, owners Rap's Plumbing and Heating. She and friend Kathy Steferak, of Milford, carried several shopping bags from several boutiques as they walked along River Street.


"It's quaint and you run into people that you know. I didn't even want to think about going to the bigger stores," Steferak said.


"They're meeting friends they haven't seen in a while and having a good time," said Marti Reed, owner of The Canvas Patch.


Small business owners were thrilled with the outcome. "It was so successful I can't even think," Reed said. "They did it last year. I think it's even better this year. I'm just exhausted and I should have had help, but people have been nice and patient," said Reed, who worked all by herself on Saturday, not anticipating the crowds that came out.


Meg Barone is a freelance writer.


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Photo 1 (top): Jill Fattibene, of Fairfield, shops the Small Business Saturday sale Nov. 24, 2012 at Cargo Bay in Fairfield, Conn. Fattibene was specifically shopping locally for the Small Business Saturday discounts, like the one at Cargo Bay where everything was 25% off. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post


Photo 2 (second from top): Gabby Fludd organizes her inventory Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at her shop, Gumdrop Swap, in Bridgeport, Conn. Fludd did good business with her Small Business Saturday promotion offering $1 off for every $5 spent. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post


Photo 3 (third from top): Jennifer Binkley, of Fairfield, shops locally at Palooza in Fairfield during Small Business Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 . Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

Photo 4 (bottom): Nnamdi Amaechi, of New Haven, shops locally at Jimmy's in Bridgeport, Conn. during Small Business Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 . Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post



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