The day after the big Black Friday blowouts, DeLandites showed Downtown some Small Business Saturday love.
“I would say I had my busiest day in eight years of business. It was busy all day long,” said Tracey Word, owner of Pretty Little Things, a vintage boutique at 113 N. Woodland Blvd.
Word said Small Business Saturday is always her shop’s busiest day of the year, but this year exceeded expectations.
“It was awesome,” she said. “People had to wait, and everyone was patient and nice and wearing their mask. It was a great day Downtown.”
Wayne Carter said, across the board, turnout in Downtown DeLand for Small Business Saturday was about the same as it was last year.
Carter is executive director of the MainStreet DeLand Association. He said that in a year hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hitting the same levels as last year’s Small Business Saturday sales was a big win for the Downtown merchants.
He said now is a great time to shop small.
“We don’t have a big-screen TV Downtown, but for most of the gifts people want to give, you can find something Downtown and avoid the crowds,” he said. “I think people just want to support their shops.”
Business owners all over Downtown DeLand felt the love, too.
“I’m overwhelmed with the support,” said Sandy Chavez, owner of Lace and Accessories, at 140 N. Woodland Blvd. Her boutique sells clothing, hats, jewelry and other accessories.
“It was better than I expected with the COVID-19 stuff going on. There were so many locals that came out and supported the small businesses,” she said. “Everyone loves our little town and wants to keep it alive.”
One local who was out shopping to support Downtown merchants was Kelly Lawrence O’Leary with the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce. She said the Downtown streets were full of people finding gifts for the holidays.
“While I did some shopping at the big box stores, I think I did more spending at small businesses for gifts,” she said. “I want to support Downtown. I’m born and raised here, so it’s important to me.”
Pretty Little Things owner Word said she heard from business-owning friends across the country that their Saturday turnout was great.
Like O’Leary, Carter said he believes the trend of shopping small is all about making sure, in such a difficult year, that your favorite shops make out OK.
Regardless, Word said, she was just delighted to see so many people shopping local.
“The outpouring of support was awesome,” she said. “Whatever reason it happened, I’m glad it did.”