A flourishing Small Business Saturday in downtown York: One of the ‘best’ for some

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Some downtown York businesses saw a boost in sales from Small Business Saturday shoppers.

Boutiques in the Market District, shops in the Royal Square District and businesses in the WeCo District offer deals and discounts to shoppers looking for holiday gifts.

The holiday was started by American Express in 2010 to promote small businesses in the wake of the Great Recession. For some shopkeepers, this was their 13th year in a row. For others, it was the first small business Saturday.

‘Best’ Small Business Saturday, for some shops

Zarah Brooks She opened Indigo Blue, a bohemian boutique on West Philadelphia Street, in 2014 and says she’s not exactly sure what to expect this holiday season.

“It was our best yet,” said Brooks, who saw more foot traffic than she expected this year.

“I’ve seen so many new faces and returning regulars this year – I’m extremely grateful.”

Read more about Small Biz Saturday: Shops and restaurants in downtown York offer special gifts on Small Business Saturday

Since 1945, the Watchmaker’s Son jewelry store on North Beaver Street has seen more than five decades of holiday shopping.

For third-generation jeweler, Karen Reiss Staub, Small Business Saturday is always a fun day, but this year could be even better.

“It’s always a good day for us, but this year was one of the best we’ve ever had! We feel so supported and loved by our customers,” she said.

Alexandria Keener Hammond, owner of My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe and a new addition to her store, Preston & Jane, said last year’s Small Business Saturday saw a huge increase not only in sales, but also in the number of transactions.

“My Girlfriend’s Clothing is all about supporting our consignors who are members of our community. Your support goes a long way when you consider that aspect.”

For Christina Clark, owner of Sunrise Soap Company, this is her 19th year in business. She usually expects a large crowd for the holiday season and said this year’s turnout was great.

“Downtown was busy, the store was busy — it felt good to have so many people out.”

More holiday news: Holiday events in Central PA: From Santa to tree lighting to craft trips to training

Some businesses offer a first-time discount.

Jens Marshall, co-owner of Boho Bella Collection, a vintage boutique that sells home furnishings, fashion and art, said this is the first year her business has offered a sale on Small Business Saturday to generate sales.

According to her sales data, Marshall’s store saw about a third of the sales it saw on Small Business Saturday last year.

“It was the first time we saw a decline in sales,” she said.

Marshall and her husband Aaron, who are also involved in real estate, stay on top of inflation news and real estate numbers. Predicting a slight drop in traffic this year, the two knew they had to offer discounts to keep up sales.

“We’re not the only small business affected. We love what we do, and it’s just a matter of reinventing and rethinking how we run our business.”

More: Looking for some cool bells: The Salvation Army needs your help

First small business Saturday for some shops

Noel Rock, a specialty store for records, guitars and guitar gear in the Royal Square District, saw its first small business opening of the year on Saturday.

As a new company with a unique focus, they weren’t sure what to expect, said co-owner Scott Yuschef.

“We’ve had a good mix of returning and new faces coming through the door and we’re finally happy with the day. We’re looking forward to continued traffic over the holiday season to help us finish the first year strong,” Yushef said.

For Chris and Beverly Awkward, owners of O Ye Jerky, a stand selling homemade jerky at Central Market, this was also their first small business Saturday and their first year.

“Small Business Saturday was busier than expected. We knew the special day would increase our sales and exposure to new customers, but the turnout was so overwhelming, it was overwhelming,” said Beverly.

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