Holiday weekend a boost for area small businesses

  • Emily Gwynn, a Buckland resident and creator of Hands to Work Textiles, was one of several local artisans who set up shop in The Mill at Shelburne Falls during Small Business Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • The pop-up crafters’ market at The Mill at Shelburne Falls allowed local artisans to sell their goods during Small Business Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Shoppers packed the aisles of LOOT found + made in Turners Falls as they came out to support local businesses for Small Business Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2021 5:05:56 PM
Modified: 11/28/2021 5:05:27 PM

As Thanksgiving passes and the holiday season kicks into full swing, local businesses are loving the extra boost given to them by Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

As the temperature rose Saturday, so did the number of shoppers venturing out into the cold air to begin their holiday shopping. Businesses all around Franklin County said they were experiencing an increased amount of foot traffic — especially when compared to last year — as more people learn to live with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the North Quabbin region, the New Salem General Store was preparing for the post-lunch rush after a “steady” morning. Owner Jeff Reynolds said the business had been advertising on Facebook about its new inventory for the holiday season,

“It’s been excellent,” Reynolds said a little after noon. “We’ve been Facebook posting and have lots of new gifts for the holidays.”

Reynolds said Small Business Saturday in 2020 was a “good day” and Saturday was shaping up to be great.

“Now that it’s warming up a bit more, I think it will start picking up,” Reynolds said.

Orange-based Trail Head Outfitters and General Store was experiencing a nice flow of traffic as the store put on several sales. Owner Paul Anderson said business was good and similar to last year because outdoors companies didn’t take as much of a hit from the pandemic as other industries did.

“It’s steady,” Anderson said around noon. “We were OK with 2020 because we’re an outdoors store and everyone was trying to distance.”

Following Route 2 west, shoppers filled the aisles of LOOT found + made in Turners Falls looking for the perfect holiday gifts and knickknacks to cross off their shopping lists.

Co-owner Erin MacLean said LOOT had a great weekend and it seems to get better every year.

“Yesterday was very busy, busier than last year. It gets busier every year,” MacLean said on Saturday. “It’s nice to have that boost.”

MacLean noted the business community of Turners Falls, such as Buckingham Rabbits Vintage and The Rendezvous, help bring people to the village.

“We share a similar customer base,” MacLean said.

Northampton resident Michele Marchese said she loves coming to Turners Falls for her holiday shopping.

“We come to LOOT every year,” Marchese said while looking at the shelves and tables. She said she loves the “vintage Christmas” gifts she can find there and knowing she helps small businesses by shopping there is “absolutely” a great feeling.

While LOOT didn’t have special sales for Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, MacLean said the store will be open until 8 p.m. every Friday in December and will have holiday sales then.

In neighboring Greenfield, Moldavite Dreams was hosting its Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sale by offering a $10 gift card if customers spent $100 on a purchase.

Owner Ellie Richardson said the weekend as a whole had been pretty successful for the business as Black Friday produced good sales.

“Yesterday was pretty busy, too,” Richardson said on Saturday morning.

While sales were looking up Saturday, Richardson said last year’s numbers weren’t too low and the community really came together to help out small businesses in the holiday season.

“Sales were down throughout the year, but people really pulled through in December to shop local,” she said.

Farther along Route 2, The Mill at Shelburne Falls also got into the Small Business Saturday spirit and hosted a pop-up crafts market Friday, Saturday and Sunday to help local artisans feel the support of their community and share their work. When the show started at 10 a.m. on Saturday, it was a little too chilly for the outdoor market, but the warmth of The Mill provided a welcoming atmosphere for holiday shopping.

Emily Gwynn, a Buckland resident and creator of Hands to Work Textiles, said she was glad to have a chance to share her work so close to home.

“It’s wonderful to have a show of this caliber in my backyard. … I was thrilled to be invited,” she said.

Gwynn, who sells hand-woven textiles such as table linens, said Friday night was a “cozy” environment for the shoppers who braved the cold and snow during Moonlight Magic. She added the pop-up shop is a great chance for the talented artisans of the region to come together and share their work.

“I’m really appreciative of the support of the local community,” Gwynn said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to share my work and living with my neighbors.”

Sue MacFarland, who helped organized the pop-up shop, said it’s wonderful to have craftspeople come out, and this event is the first of many for The Mill.

“It’s just great to have a community space to showcase local artisans,” she said. “We plan to do more — not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year. We encourage local artisans to reach out if they’re interested.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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