- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Residents who ventured out the day after Thanksgiving to do a little shopping in Calvert County avoided the usual crowds and long lines associated with Black Friday while still managing to find good deals on gifts.
Lisa Meyers and her mother, Phyllis Ramsey, both of Prince Frederick, got an early start to the day and began their Black Friday shopping at about 8 a.m. at Kmart in the Fox Run Shopping Center. They were two of just a handful of people looking for deals at the store Friday morning.
Meyers said she was looking for a bicycle for her 7-year-old son, which was just one of many gifts he wanted for Christmas. Meyers said she and Ramsey were going to try to “knock out the bulk” of their shopping Friday and planned on staying in the area.
“What I make in Calvert County I’d rather spend in Calvert County,” Ramsey said about why they wanted to shop close to home.
Before heading into Kmart, Kathy Garner stopped at GameStop just before 8 a.m. to pick up a few video games for her daughter. In Kmart, Garner said she was purchasing gifts for her grandson.
“The Thomas the [Tank Engine] stuff was what I was looking for, and [Kmart] had a two for one deal,” Garner said.
Although she usually works on Black Friday, Garner said she has had the last two years off, which has allowed her to participate in the annual shopping day.
For those looking for a different type of gift, the Humane Society of Calvert County was offering discounts on its animals starting Black Friday through Sunday.
“We’re doing a discount on all cats and dog adoptions, as well as snacks and goodies, a tour of the kennel, that kind of thing,” said Kelly St. Marie, president of the Humane Society.
At about 10 a.m. Friday, St. Marie said she had already received several calls from people asking to come in and look at the animals. Anyone who adopted a pet still had to go through the application process, she said, but they received a discount on the animal they chose to adopt.
St. Marie said, “We had a great turnout last year” and a lot of animals were adopted, and she expected the same result this year.
Holiday shopping continued into the weekend during Small Business Saturday, which first began in 2010 to encourage shoppers to patronize small, local businesses.
Educate & Celebrate owner Laurie Uherek said the store participated in Black Friday with several “cool deals” that extended into Small Business Saturday. Uherek said the Prince Frederick store did not see an increase in sales and business was “about the same” as any other day.
“I still think people are just migrating to the Internet these days,” she said, adding that “you can do everything from your computer at home. There is just such a push to buy online. Each year it’s getting to be a little more prominent.”
Uherek said she “kind of expected” the lower turnout last weekend.
“I guess that’s the new normal,” she said. “I guess we gotta figure out how to make that work.”
Like Uherek’s business, Bead Boutique in Prince Frederick also saw no increase in business during Small Business Saturday. Even though there was a continuing sale in the store, owner Tricia Hall said, “It was slow for a Saturday.”
Hall said part of the reason she believes business was slow is because of the economy. Hall hopes more people continue to support small businesses because “the more you can support your local small businesses, the better off everything is going to be,” she said.
One important reason Hall said she hopes people keep in mind is that small businesses often have employees with more product knowledge and a willingness to help customers.
“Any small business I’ve ever been in, you get a lot of personalized help,” she said. “They’re genuinely there to help you out. I try to do the same with my customers.”
Heather Maertens said her store, Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts in Lusby, was “actually really busy” on Small Business Saturday. Although the store itself is a small business, Maertens said the jewelry store also participated in the national event by giving back.
The store was selling “handmade dog-themed ornaments and some wool doggy-themed stockings,” Maertens said, and 100 percent of the proceeds from those items that sold were donated to the Calvert Animal Welfare League. Maertens said the promotion will continue through Christmas.
“We just thought it’s really wonderful for people to support small businesses and this was our way to give back,” Maertens said. “People support us all year long and we wanted to give back a little.”
This year was the second year Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts participated in Small Business Saturday, and Maertens said she plans on participating again next year.
“I think it has a chain reaction,” she said. “I think the more of us that participate in it, the bigger it will get and the more fun it will be.”