BANGOR, Maine — Between Black Friday for national retail chains and Cyber Monday for online retailers, locally owned businesses benefitted from Small Business Saturday as part of the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush.
“It’s been a very busy weekend,” said Chris Dodd, an employee at The Rock and Art Shop in Bangor. “It’s been a steady stream of people all day long.”
Several businesses in downtown Bangor reported many new and repeat customers between Small Business Saturday and Plaid Friday, the Bangor small business equivalent to Black Friday.
“It’s been a lot of excitement and a lot of support for downtown Bangor,” said Julie Baker Leaden, manager of Mexicali Blues in Bangor, one of six stores in the state. “We opened our doors a little bit earlier than usual and we’ve had customers trickling in since then.”
Because of people staying with relatives for the long Thanksgiving weekend, some locals have brought family to the downtown businesses.
“We’ve had people from California, Colorado, Maryland — it pretty much runs the whole gamut,” said Dodd. “It’s really nice to see people supporting local business. It’s a big push for us.”
Ginger Graham, a clerk at Book Marc’s, said she’s seen quite a few new customers, many of whom mentioned Small Business Saturday as a reason for stopping in the store.
“Today we’ve had a number of families stop in,” said Graham on Saturday afternoon. “Parents and adult children who came down for Small Business Saturday. Some had [items] gift wrapped and then gone and shopped at more stores and came back.”
Lori Goodine of Hudson said she decided to spend the day shopping with her mother, Gladys McCann of Bangor.
“We decided to shop at the local businesses today,” said Goodine. “We came down for Small Business Saturday to spend the afternoon together. I think it’s great. I prefer the small and quieter scene.”
Epic Sports saw an influx of customers Friday and Saturday, said Matt Bishop, associate at the family-run store.
“It’s great to see more people downtown,” he said. “It’s definitely a big difference compared to last year. I can only imagine what another year of talking about it is going to do.”
Epic Sports had its items marked at 25 percent off Friday and Saturday. Baker Leaden said Mexicali Blues was offering 15 percent off sterling silver items Saturday. Other stores also featured sales.
American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, according to the credit card company’s website.
“I think it’s really good for the whole downtown,” said Baker Leaden. “We’re really excited here at Mexicali, and I think all of the stores are having a good day today.”