The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

November 27, 2013

Towns plan events to attract shoppers

Late hours, carriage rides, caroling among offerings

SUNBURY — As big box retailers gear up for the Black Friday rush, small businesses also are prepping for a wave of holiday shoppers.

Nationwide, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has become known as “Small Business Saturday,” when people are encouraged to shop at local stores.

A number of holiday events are being planned by Valley municipalities and some of the biggest of year are the annual late-night shopping promotions.

Mifflinburg will be the first to kick off its late-night activities, with stores open Sunday to provide some fun and shopping during the community tree lighting, said Main Street Manager Cherie Ross. The tree lighting is from 7 to 8 p.m., with most stores open from 4 to 8 p.m.

Shopping locally is important because small businesses are “the backbone of the country,” Ross said.

“The money that is made here by local businesses is spent here and improves the quality of life,” she said.

Local stores also provide excellent customer service and attention, Ross said.

“A small business owner is going to give your better customer service: they live with you, they work with you, they’re your neighbors and friends,” she said.

Small business owners also “practice what they preach,” selling locally made products or producing goods using locally sourced materials, Ross said.

Patsy Nemchik tries to do that as much as possible at her store, Electic Envy in Danville, she said.

“It’s nice to support your local community,” she said. “We offers a lot of American-made items and have things from artists here locally. It’s a nice thing to support your community.”

Nemchik said the holiday shopping season is critical for many small businesses.

Selinsgrove’s late-night shopping event is scheduled from 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday.

In Sunbury, on Dec. 5, the Hill Neighborhood Council will present its version of late night shopping in downtown Sunbury and some of those features may just keep you in town. There will be caroling in Cameron Park and at the Fourth Street Plaza and free horse-drawn carriage rides.

The Hill Neighborhood, in conjunction with Sunbury Revitalization Inc., will also present citywide storybook-themed painted store front along with specials and deals for all to enjoy. There will be light refreshments at Cameron Park and more than 20 home party sales and crafters will be set up inside the Bob Newman building on Market Street.

Danville will celebrate its seventh annual Late Shoppers Night, with stores open until 11 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Lewisburg also will be open for business late on Dec. 6, with the borough’s late-night shopping event running until midnight. Santa is scheduled to make an appearance at the Purple Platypus at 7 p.m.

It will be the first holiday shopping season in downtown Lewisburg for Black Dog Jewelers, which opened its Market Street store in June, said Susan Kauffman, co-owner.

“We had a fantastic summer, we were busy all summer,” she said. “If it keeps up the same as it is, by end the year, we’ll have had a good 2013.”

The store is still hoping to bring in plenty of holiday customers during Lewisburg’s annual night out, Kauffman said.

“It’s always been a big night downtown,” she said. “I think a lot of people come into town for the festivities, and it’s a really great night.”

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