Shopping small is big for Danielson community

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Danielson - posted Mon., Dec. 2, 2013
Patricia Wilterdink and Carol Adams shop at Danielson Adventure Sports. Photos by D. Coffey.
Patricia Wilterdink and Carol Adams shop at Danielson Adventure Sports. Photos by D. Coffey.

Carol Adams poked through a rack of clothes at Danielson Adventure Sports on Nov. 30. She had come to the store looking for a very specific shirt for her son, a bicyclist and triathlete. Sure enough, it was there.

Adams might have been able to find the shirt online, but she prefers shopping locally when she can. “I’m a true fan of mom and pop stores,” she said. It was fitting, then, that she was spending her money in Danielson on Small Business Saturday.

The SBS initiative began three years ago with sponsorship by American Express. But what began as an extension of Black Friday and a way for the credit card company to cash in on Christmas spending has turned into a more grass-roots effort to shop locally. According to a study conducted by Civic Economics in 2012, 52 percent of money spent at locally-owned, independent businesses stays in the community supporting local organizations and services. Think Little League, area food and fuel banks, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and school groups.

Adams’ personal experiences mirror that statistic. When her church sent 22 letters to area businesses for fundraising help, it was the locally-owned businesses that responded. “We never heard from the big chain stores or restaurants,” she said.

This holiday season, the stores along Main Street have pitched in to help the St. Francis of Assisi Food Bank. Participating stores have decorated small Christmas trees with items the stores carry. Everyone who makes a purchase in that store is entered for a drawing to win the tree. People can also buy raffle tickets for the trees.

Whiffle balls and wrist bands covered the tree at Danielson Surplus, where General Manager Mark Goldberg checked inventory. “Local businesses can offer many items for less than the national chains charge,” he said. “We carry higher-quality goods and as many American-made brands as we can. And we honor our sale prices if we run out.”

Like many small businesses, Danielson Surplus has its niche. Not only does it offer Carhartt clothing for men and women, Levi jeans, Woolrich blankets, a line of quality shoes and boots, it also offers customized screen printing and embroidery. They’ll sew on patches, do custom colors for buttons, trims and sleeves and create uniquely classic school apparel.

The Trinket Shoppe has carved out its own unique market as well. Owners Alan and Cindy Parsons have adapted to changes in their family, the bridal, prom, footwear and scrubs markets, and have developed a loyal following as a result. And Cindy is willing to bet her price is better than most online prices. “And we do alterations on what we sell so things fit properly,” she said.

While American Express started the Small Business Saturday push, the card isn’t accepted at Trinket Shoppe. According to the Parsons, AE charges almost double the rate on each transaction as some other credit cards. “We appreciate the fact that they pushed Small Business Saturday,” Alan said. “But being a small business, we have to watch every dollar.”

State Rep. Mae Flexer spent some of her Christmas dollars at Heart and Home in Danielson, where a clerk gift-wrapped her purchases. “Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” Flexer said. “We’re supporting our neighbors and we’re keeping the local economy thriving.”

Sterling resident Evelyn Stetkiewicz was at Heart and Home as well. “It’s a nice little town,” she said. “We should support it.”

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