Shoppers go small in Saratoga Springs on Black Friday; independent retailers give thanks

November 23, 2018 06:29 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The relaxation room at Saratoga Botanicals is a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Broadway. Store owner Franesa Pyle opened at 6 a.m. this Black Friday morning and shoppers came for deals on cosmetics and spa services.

"We have folks that come back every year. Yeah, they know about the sale and they're here religiously."

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Pyle and other independent retailers are confident they can compete with national retailers and online giants like Amazon.

"Because we have a couple things that we do that they don't do," said Linda Ambrosino, owner of G. Willikers, a toy store on Broadway for 33 years. "We have ample help on today. We gift wrap for free. We have people who are knowledgeable about the product, people who played the games."

Ambrosino says Black Friday gets busier every year.

Pam Worth, owner of Spoken, a popular women's clothing boutique, agrees.

"I was worried about the weather. It is freezing cold outside, but when I came in at 5:30 this morning there were lines of cars in front of my store and outside."

Worth says the 50-percent early morning discount brings them in and exceptional service keeps them coming back.

"People do worry about the big boxes, but if you are on your toes and take care of your customers, they're going to come back to you."

Back on Broadway, Northshire Bookstore was enjoying brisk sales, without offering deep discounts.

"We can't compete with the prices online necessarily. Some books online are loss leaders. They're selling them for less than we pay for them. So really we're giving the experience," said Rachel Person, events manager at Northshire Bookstore.

Retailers were hoping the momentum they gained here on Black Friday will carry over into Small Business Saturday.

Barbie Brindisi plans to keep shopping here, even if it means having to pay a little more. "I'm not really looking for sales. I'm looking for the individual item and that personal connection."


Mark Mulholland

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