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Small Business Saturday

Skip Black Friday, Think Smaller

Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday in November has been a day set aside for giving thanks since 1863. In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation because he knew that everyone had a reason to be thankful – even in a time of war.

Thanksgiving has long been the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In recent decades the focus has been more on the actual shopping than giving thanks. Not so very long ago Thanksgiving was a day that was spent with extended family. Families played touch or flag football instead of demeaning the day by planning a shopping trip. Discussions at the dinner table have gone from reasons for being thankful to where the best price on that one hot holiday item is.

Who really wants to spend Thanksgiving camping out in front of some soulless big box store for a price that will inevitably be lower in a week or two?

Sure, the door busters look great, and the prices are low. Ask yourself this, though-is that little bit of savings worth camping out in the cold, driving an hour and then spending another hour (or two or three) trying to get from the interstate to the shopping center. Is it worth it?

Here is another option…We here in Emporia have a wonderful selection of local small businesses.

If it is Christmas that you are looking for, stop by Picture Perfect Custom Framing and Gifts. Stephanie and Clements Mayes have expanded and now offer a wide selection of gifts including Jim Shore and Possible Dreams Santas. In addition, there many other gift options including scented candles and soaps, Scout Bags, Corkcicle insulated beverage ware, wreathes, bows, Old world Christmas Ornaments and, of course, custom framing. On Friday and Saturday only, they are offering 30% off select merchandise.

In the same building as Picture Perfect is Clements Mayes Photography. I cannot imagine anybody’s grandma not welcoming portraits of their grandchildren-or maybe even a sitting of their own. Be sure to talk to Clements and arrange a sitting for you, the kids or the whole family. When the day of the sitting gets close, get everyone gussied up and practice those glowing smiles for grandma.

While you’re parked on Halifax Street, walk on down to Twice Told Treasures and check out Leandra’s varied selection of gently used and consignment merchandise. There is a little bit of everything in this gem of a shop, and surely you can find a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list.

Right next door check out True Patriot’s Antiques. Harvey has some great gifts and this is another great place for that one person that you can never find a Christmas gift for. Stop by and see what speaks to you.

When you are done there, don’t forget City Auto. Yeah, I know, a hardware store. Admit it, though, your spouse has been none too subtle about that noisy dishwasher or harvest gold refrigerator. I know that there are some that would be insulted by the gift of a dishwasher, refrigerator or laundry pair, but not everyone is. 

Surely you have done enough shopping to deserve lunch. Lucky for you, there is no need to move the car or find another parking place. Three Bears in a Tree has a wonderful lunch menu. I can heartily recommend the meatloaf sandwich, but have never had a bad meal here.

Ok, now the car has to be moved. At the next stop you can find a gift and do some good. Samaritan House Thrift may take a bit of work, but it really can be worth it. Like all thrift stores it can be hit and miss, but yes, it can pay off. The best part is that shopping here helps the Samaritan Helping Hands Home meet the needs of their ministry.

It is a good bet that someone on your Christmas gift list would like some clothes. Stop by Slaone’s Boutique in the Emporia Shopping Center. Surely you can find an outfit or two without heading out of town.

While you are at the Emporia Shopping Center, head over to Monte’s Flowers. Not only can you send an arrangement to a loved one out of town, but there are all sorts of gifts.

Just off of North Main Street is Thorpe’s Whole Home Store. Once again, I do know that this sounds like a home improvement store. Take the time to stop and have a look around. Included with the paint brushes and tile samples are some great gifts. Fishing tackle, tee shirts, scented soaps and candles and much more are here to be under your tree.

You’re almost to the next stop-the Hospital Auxiliary Gift shop at SVRMC. Once again, there is a little bit of everything in this small shop. Proceeds from sales help the Auxiliary with their work in the hospital.

Shoes! Who doesn’t like new shoes? White’s Family Shoes will have something for the whole family. White’s has all the name brands that you will find if you head to one of those uninspiring big-box stores. At White’s when you need help, there is actually someone to help.

While you’re in the area, swing through the drive-through at Arby’s and pick up a quick snack. The

Head south, over the bridge and stop at CJ’s Pawn and Furniture and Jim’s Pawn Shop. Both of these stores are more than simple pawn shops. There is new and used furniture, housewares, tools, appliances and too much else to list. In addition, there are electronics-from televisions to laptops-and jewelry.

Before you move the car, head west on Brunswick Avenue a few feet to Back Road Boutique and Gift Shop. Custom embroidery, totes, and too much to list every item. Stop by and check it out.

Heading south on Main Street you will find the Red Barn. Yes, filling stations can have decent gifts. For the Football fan on your list there is a great selection of NFL merchandise. Lottery tickets are also available at the Red Barn, and Lottery tickets-either scratchers or Mega Millions or Power Ball-make great stocking stuffers or card fillers.

The last stop on the list is in Skippers. The Good Earth Peanut Company has everything you need for the last of the people on your list. You can get peanuts in bags or tins-in the shell and out.  They also have a great selection of gift assortments, trail mixes, nut-butters and preserves. They do have more than peanuts; you can get cashews, pecans, almonds and pistachios. The best part of shopping here, besides the double dipped chocolate covered peanuts and butter toasted pecans that you grab for yourself, is that Good Earth can ship your gifts almost anywhere, which will save you a trip to the post office.

While Emporia does not have all of the local retail stores that we once did, there is still a good enough selection of stores that you can skip Black Friday to spend time with your friends and family or just take some time for yourself-curl up on the couch and read a good book, take the kids outside and play in the fallen leaves or just beat your husband in game after game of Scrabble.

Skip the Mall! Shop Local and Support Small Businesses on Saturday

The first Thanksgiving Feast was celebrated in the Plymouth Colony. When the “Pilgrims” arrived, they spent the first winter aboard the Mayflower.  It had been a rough first year for that group. Nearly half of the group never made it to that first spring. As you can imagine, all of those people living aboard a ship moored in the Massachusetts Bay with not a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, both exposure and scurvy were pretty major threats. Infectious diseases were also rampant in such an overcrowded space.

When spring finally came and the survivors of the winter started the process of building the colony, they were met by a Native Abenaki who actually greeted them in English. He returned with another Native, Squanto, a Pawtuxet tribesman who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to the metropolis of London and making his way back to his own continent.

Thankfully for the new arrivals, Squanto harbored no ill will to the English. He could have easily seen the Mayflower Colonists as an enemy and wiped them all out. Instead, he taught them to grow their own food and introduced the colonists to the Wampanoag Tribe that was the beginning of an alliance that would last for more than 5 decades.

The crops that Squanto taught the fledgling colony to grow brought in a bountiful harvest. The harvest feast that, along with many other feasts, grew into our modern Thanksgiving was called by the Governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. That feast lasted three days and included Lobsters and Swans. The Wampanoag brought at least 5 deer that were roasted. Turkey was also plentiful and a major source of food for both Natives and colonists. The corn that was already a staple of the Natives was served in a dish that is closer to polenta than the modern Corn pudding. Local produce, most likely, played a major role in that first feast. The first pumpkin pie was probably a bit different than what we do today. Without wheat and sugar, pumpkin flavored custard in short-crust would not have been possible, even if there were an oven in the colony. Food historians believe that the first “pumpkin pie” was a mixture of milk and honey poured into a hollowed out pumpkin and roasted in the coals. Other sweets were also close at hand – the plentiful fruits that were native to the area.

I will admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to when the first Thanksgiving was, as Governor William Bradford was my first ancestor on this great continent. No matter what anybody believes about the origins of this uniquely American holiday, that first feast was completely local. The Turkeys, Seals, Mussels, Lobster, Onions, Turnips, Blueberries and the Pumpkins were all readily available and plentiful. Those early colonists couldn’t just jump in the family car and head into Colonial Heights to buy their groceries. They ate what was close. They ate what they could catch within walking distance of their colony.

We could take a page from Governor Bradford’s playbook when it comes to buying gifts for Christmas (which was actually illegal in Puritan New England for quite a while).

You could, of course, hop in the family car and drive to any one of the major shopping centers in the region, raising your blood pressure in the process, or you could spend all day Thursday and as much time as you want to (or are forced to) on Friday with your family and friends.

As the example of that first Harvest Feast teaches us, local is best, and we have a bountiful selection of quality retailers right here in Emporia-Greensville.

Surely you have will have some leftover country ham from Spivey’s, so make it the centerpiece of a hearty Saturday breakfast. Spivey’s does have the best meat department in town, so you could also get some quality bacon and sausage. Whip up some simple homemade biscuits (or not), fry up some home fries and scramble some eggs. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your spouse and children (and possibly your in-laws, cousins, aunts or uncles that are still visiting).

After breakfast get out the walking shoes and take advantage of the many local businesses that are truly the lifeblood of our local economy:

Carolyn's Creations, 1363 Brink Road (pictured above), has an amazing selection of unique gifts and Christmas Decorations.  This weekend, Carolyn is running a sale on ornaments and stems to decorate your home for the holidays.  Carolyn also offers you a perfect opportunity to find truly thoughtful gifts like Jim Shore ornaments, Tervis Tumblers, Jewelry, and a ton of other one of a kind things for the home. 

CJ's Furniture and Pawn Shop, 308 South Main Street.  Pawn Shops are great sources for gifts for the entire family, electronics, tools, jewelry, firearms, and even furniture.  CJs has a truly unique selection of merchandise – from inkwells and antique lighters and ink pens, they even have a really sweet Milk Glass cookie jar among their varied and interesting, well, stuff. Compact Discs for the music lover, DVDs for the movie lover, games and consoles, and did I mention that they have jewelry? This month Computers and Mattresses are on sale.

Just like pawn shops, consignment shops have a pretty good selection of unique gifts. Check out Halifax Street for Twice Told Tales & Treasures and True Patriot Antiques at 327 and 323, respectively

At Twice Told Treasures, Leandra has a whole shelves of scrap booking and paper craft items and a table full of fun salt and pepper shakers. She also has a wall full of used books that need an new home.

A recent trip to True Patriot Antiques found a new home for a ceramic bread box, but there is also a table full of glassware (including Fostoria American) and some other pretty neat stuff, like a set of canisters – white with blue writing and a fun shape.

While you are on Halifax Street, stop by Three Bears and a Tree at 321. They have a Day Spa, gift shop and are the home of L. P.’s Café Cusine. After you shop a bit, let Linda whip you up a great lunch. I was there one day last week and the Meatloaf Sandwich that was the special that day was great.

I know that hardware stores are not typically hot spots for traditional gift shopping. We all have that one person in our life that is a bit of a nerd about something. Maybe someone has been dropping hints about a new dishwasher or freezer or washing machine (yes, I know, all of these involve work, but if your spouse actually asks for a dishwasher, buy them a dishwasher, just make sure that they are serious so that you don’t end up in the dog house), stop by City Auto Supply and Hardware at 311 and have a look.

If you don’t find that perfect gift that is actually work at City Auto Supply, stop by Farm and Lawn Service, head on over to Farm and Lawn Service, 700 North Main Street, and check out their line of Husqvarna tools.  Beat the spring rush and get Dad that new String Trimmer or Leaf Blower for Christmas (you know that he has been dropping hints all year).

Since you are already so close, stop by Monte’s Flower and Gift Shop, 600 North Main Street.  Flowers are always a good choice, but they have more than flowers and potted plants. Check out their selection of gifts and Christmas Ornaments.

Also in the Emporia Shopping Center isSloan's Boutique, 528 North Main Street.  Sloan's offers unique fashions for men and women.

For over 50 years, White’s Family Shoe Store, 212 East Cloverleaf Drive, has been offering the quality name brands that you would drive to some other place to buy. Save the drive, you can get gifts for everybody right here in Emporia at White’s Family Shoe Store.

Head on over to Jarrat and check out Vintage, 117 Jarratt Avenue. If they still have it, there is a great doll house that would make almost any little girl happy.  They also have antiques and handcrafted furniture and gifts. Many of the offerings, from butcher block cutting boards to candy, including some truly addictive candied pecans, and soy candles are made by local artisans. There really too many items to list, so just head on over and have a look for yourself!

Back to Emporia, where you must swing by Thorpe’s Whole Home Store, 202 Carroll Street (in the old Sash and Door).  Yes, they have flooring and paint (think about updating the bathroom for Mom), but if you head upstairs there is a world more. Melody pointed out the custom embroidery on my last visit, and they have seasonal soaps, some great smelling Woodwick Candles and a corner chock full of fishing tackle, which could make at least one grandparent, uncle brother or sister happy.

On the off chance that you still have not found everything for everyone on your list, there is also Clements Mayes Photographyand Picture Perfect Custom Framing, 401 Halifax Street. Grandmas the world over are always happy to get pictures of their babies! In addition to the great photography, Clements also does wonderful restoration work, so you can get that picture that you knocked off the wall a few years ago restored and reframed.

Dinnertime is near! Arby’s, 109 Market Drive, has some great new menu items. The Pork Belly is back! Swing by, get dinner for the car full of weary shoppers – get dessert, too, the turnovers and cookies are as good as the milk shakes.

Odds are, you have forgotten someone or have gifts going out of town. You might even have someone that would love a taste of home. The Good Earth Peanut Company, 5334 Skippers Rd, Skippers, has you covered. They can even handle the shipping. No, it is not all peanuts, but, honestly, a good tin of peanuts can’t be beat. They have trail mixes, gift assortments, mixed nuts, butter toasted peanuts and pecans, preserves, pickles, apple butter (and pumpkin, peach, and cherry), peanut butter, honey, salad dressings, sauces and Country Ham. If you are just too tuckered out to head down to Skippers, visit http://www.goodearthpeanuts.com/.

Take it easy on Friday and shop local on Saturday. Tell them you read about it on EmporiaNews.com!

Make Shopping Small Your Holiday Tradition

Locally-Owned Businesses Support Communities More than Large Chains

BY Acting SBA Regional Administrator Carl Knoblock

Saturday, November 25, 2017 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our local communities. Did you know that since 1995, small businesses generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total United States private payroll? When we shop small –spending our money at locally-owned small businesses within our neighborhoods and towns – we help create two out of three net new local jobs.

Across the nation we are already seeing advertisements and news stories about which major chain is opening their doors on Black Friday, or even pushing employees to work on Thanksgiving Day! What you might not hear about, but should, are the mom and pop shops, the corner bakeries, and other locally-owned businesses that are competing with these national and international conglomerates. This holiday season, let’s recommit to keeping more of our hard-earned money local by supporting our neighborhood champions, America’s small businesses.

When you shop local, you’re putting your money right back into your town and neighborhood. Compared to chain stores, locally-owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community, which means more money for local police and fire departments as well as schools and other community supported infrastructure and services. Do the math: Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes. And, for every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy compared to only $43 from the big guys.

This Small Business Saturday®, visit your Main Street merchants to find unique, handmade gifts, and unsurpassed service that you won’t find at a big-box retailer. Afterward, dine at a locally-owned restaurant, an industry employing 14 million Americans and generating $709.2 billion in sales - equal to 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Many small restaurants are also more eco-friendly by serving local products.

To continue the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration Richmond District Office will do a series of “Where Are We” articles. These articles will showcase small businesses throughout the state of Virginia. Please subscribe to the Richmond District Office Govdelivery to receive articles. Remember to shop and dine small on Saturday, November 25. And, while you’re out shopping, make sure to tell us about it on social media using #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall to amplify your support. 

For more information on local Small Business Saturday events in your area, check out: www.sba.gov/saturday

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