Shopping small and local this season brings holiday cheer to buyers and businesses alike

Small, local businesses, that is.

Black Friday brings massive sales at every level, and for businesses here it’s no different. Romney businesses like Anderson’s Corner and the White House on Main are opening their doors to folks this Friday offering large sales to kick off the Christmas shopping season officially.

“We do have some amazing Black Friday sales, just for Black Friday,” revealed Patty Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Corner. “And there will be a diamond trunk show Friday and Saturday featuring antique, European-cut diamonds and antique jewelry.”

With Black Friday sales helping businesses get folks in the door, there’s more of a trend toward shopping locally this year following last Christmas’ cyber-heavy shopping season. Since the pandemic hit small businesses hard, savvy shoppers like Romney’s Savanna Morgret are choosing to browse at local businesses this year instead of simply clicking around.

“I’m kind of getting away from supporting those giant companies,” Morgret admitted. “Our small businesses here aren’t having those supply chain issues. These items are handmade and homemade here, right in the place we live.”

Kiersten Alderman is the owner of Capon Bridge’s Bent River Trading Company, which opened officially in September. She said that supporting small, local business owners has always been important to her, and her store’s early fall opening provided her with the opportunity to continue that mission through the holiday season.

“Our business was founded with the purpose of supporting small WV business, and we keep that as the central theme in what we try to do every day,” Alderman explained. “Every one of our vendors is a small WV business, and the stories and people behind these businesses have been amazing to get to know.”

Bent River Trading Company partnered with Bent River Woodworks, a community favorite in Capon Bridge, and Alderman said that allowed her store to provide some of the lowest consignment rates to her vendors.

“We do our best to help our vendors grow outside of their sales at BRTC through direct referrals and advertising,” she added. “Almost all of our 120-plus vendors have had sales in our 1st couple months of being open. What we didn’t count on was how fun it would be to work with these folks.”

Alderman’s “neighbors first” attitude is one of the main benefits to supporting small businesses this season: you know the people behind the items you buy, and you know your money is staying right here in your community.

Morgret added that there’s something special to her about knowing those names and faces behind local goods.

“We’re a part of the community now, and all those people that put blood, sweat and tears into having their business, I want to support that,” she said. “I mean, you went to school with them. You know their kids.”

It’s also no secret that supply chain issues have been wreaking havoc on stores (both big and small) over the last year, and it likely won’t ease up as Christmas approaches. Anderson pointed out that shopping in-store gives consumers an edge when it comes to buying gifts.

“I’ve found that my problem is that you can’t tell what the quality (of an item) is until you get it,” she said. “It’s so nice to pick something up, put it on and know exactly what to expect. The reason why (Anderson’s Corner) is successful is that we carry good quality things and stand behind them.”

Avoiding supply chain woes and the inevitable toss-up when it comes to the quality of an item you ordered online are just 2 reasons why it seems this year, more shoppers will be back in aisles.

Morgret also pointed out that shopping small might encourage other business owners from outside the area to consider Hampshire County as a place to grow.

“If people aren’t supporting our small businesses, we aren’t going to have growth,” she explained. “It’s not really the most business-friendly place, and no one will want to start fresh businesses in our town. Shopping small encourages people to put roots down here and stick around.”

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