Retailers of all sizes are gearing up for the start of the busy holiday shopping season, and local small businesses are no exception.
Wilmington is home to many independent stores, many of which are located in and around downtown. While some are treating it as a regular weekend with a higher number of shoppers, others will be catering to those looking to score some holiday deals.
At women’s clothing boutique Aqua Fedora, almost all their items will be on sale on Small Business Saturday, an annual event started by American Express in 2010 to help draw attention to local shops.
“All full-price clothing and accessories will be buy one, get one half off, and all of our sale items are at least 40 percent off,” said owner Jenna McKnight, who said consignment items will be the only things not on sale. “We’ll also have some different specials on Friday.”
McKnight said the deals will apply to her downtown store at 30 N. Front St. as well as the location in Lumina Station near Wrightsville Beach, but she’s hoping that the city’s decision to make on-street parking in downtown free all weekend will help draw more shoppers to Front Street.
“It takes away an excuse that people have for coming downtown,” McKnight said. “Hopefully people will come and take advantage of the free parking.”
A little further south of the historic downtown core, paid parking is not an issue for independent music store Gravity Records and other businesses located on Castle Street, where street parking is always free.
While the record store is anticipating most of their crowds to come on Friday for a mini version of Record Store Day, when limited edition records are made available only to independent stores, owner Matt Keen said he makes an effort to tell customers about other small businesses they can support.
“We don’t necessarily do a sale for it,” said Keen, who noted that they will have a couple of thousand select CDs available for $1 each on Saturday. “We just encourage people to shop locally as much as they possibly can.”