Shoppers putting green in local businesses on Black Friday

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FRANKLIN—Several merchants in Franklin were made as happy as their customers starting this past Black Friday. That day, after Thanksgiving kicks, off the holiday season and fills cash registers.

For starters, Debbie Crowder of The Cat’s Meow on North Main Street downtown enjoyed a brisk weekend of business.

“It was a wonderful on Friday and Saturday. Both were great days,” she said. “Much better than last year.”

Crowder credits the success to the fact that more people have come to know about her clothing and gift shop since it opened in the summer of 2012.

Holly Francis of Capron, for example, said, “This is the only place I came [on Friday]. I bought Christmas outfits for my children, so they can have their picture taken with Santa Claus.”

Close around the corner on East Second Avenue, Billy Smith of Smith Jewelers said his busy time actually began last month.

“Sales have more than doubled in November. I don’t know why. November’s been great,” he said. “Last weekend was really successful. It was phenomenal. We were busy from the time we opened to the time we closed.”

Smith, a second-generation jeweler, credits the store’s reputation and service for its longevity. He compared his work to that of a familiar barber or tailor that a person frequents.

The store keeps track of purchases and wish lists from both regulars and new customers, since men generally don’t like to come to jewelry stores, in Smith’s view. So with a telephone call, the staff can help them find what to give their spouses, fiancées or girlfriends with as little trouble as possible.

“People know us and trust us,” he said.

For next-door’s Gerry Patnesky of Alphabet Soup, she doesn’t know yet how Black Friday sales compare to last year, but she was pleased with the most recent occasion.

“It was great. We were busy all day,” Patnesky said.

The unique boutique opened first out of her home in 1989, then moved downtown in 1992.

Over on Armory Drive, the season got off to a good start at Ace Hardware, said manager Carlton Cutchin.

“It was a pretty good Black Friday,” he said, and figured that so far sales are about even with 2012. Cutchin said the store continues to honor Thanksgiving by not opening that evening.

Both Carhartt products and decorations sold well, he added.

“I feel very confident about rest of the season,” Cutchin continued. “I feel like the consumers got a little extra money, and they want to do the best they can for Christmas.”

On the other side of the road, Dail’s Home Center also enjoyed a strong start.

“We had a good day as far as customer traffic in Franklin,” said Steve Dail, store manager. “There’s a noticeable uptick of sale for Christmas this year. I haven’t run the numbers, but it’s better than last year.”

He credits the increase to an improvement in the employment in Southampton County, thanks to places such as IP, ST Tissue and the new Enviva.

“They’ve really tried to support local businesses,” Dail said.

The store also honored Thanksgiving, he added, by not opening until Friday, but did stay open through Sunday, which began in April.

“We got a real good response out of that,” said Dail.

As for the rest of the holiday season, “We’ve got a positive attitude. Things are still moving along in a positive direction,” he continued. “The county and city are both making a lot of efforts to improve job situation in our area. We’re starting to see things change for the better.”