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Local Retailers Putting on Special Events for Small Business Saturday

Author Clyde Edgerton will help sell books (not just his own) on Small Business Saturday at Old Books on Front Street.

As the holiday shopping season kicks off today, retailers of every size are hoping to make up for five fewer business days this year. 

A la Black Friday and Cyber Monday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday.

With less time to move from the red to the black, some small retailers are doing more this year to get shoppers in the door. 

Gwenyfar Rohler, owner of downtown Wilmington’s Old Books on Front Street, says that when award-winning author Sherman Alexie announced plans to help sell books in Seattle indie bookstores on Saturday, the idea caught on.

“The Independent Booksellers’ Alliance found out about this and sent out a notice saying Sherman Alexie is doing this.  And authors all across America decided that they were going to pick a local bookstore to adopt.  And out of nowhere, Clyde Edgerton called and said, ‘Hey, can I be a bookseller for a day?’”

Rohler says she hopes that it’s not just the presence of a best-selling author that brings people in the door.  She’d also like to see a broader understanding of what it means to invest in the local community.

“It’s the difference between us being able to keep our doors open and not.  And that’s not just for small bookstores which are obviously struggling in a very specific and interesting way in this time.  But I would say the same thing for clothing stores, thrift stores, hardware stores, all of that.

It was American Express that launched Small Business Saturday three years ago.  But – perhaps ironically – some local merchants don’t accept the card because of its higher fees. 

Below is a sample of Small Business Saturday special events in the area:

Old Books on Front Street:  Best-selling Author Clyde Edgerton is in-store all day to help you choose your books and make recommendations.   

Pomegranate Books:Authors Wiley Cash and Sheila Boneham will be stopping by throughout the day to act as your booksellers.  They can tell you their favorite picks and what books will be hot this holiday for the perfect gift.  Sugar Island Bakerywill also be distributing goodie bags and the lucky five who find the golden pomegranate in their gift bag will receive a gift certificate to Pomegranate.

Progressive Gardens:  Products for hydroponics, organic gardening, composting, worm farms, indoor grow lights, organic seeds or beneficial insects for stocking stuffers, rain barrels, wheatgrass juicing & sprouting supplies.  Gift certificates available.  Mention WHQR and receive a 10% discount on your order and a free $20 compost tea card.

Figments Gallery  is now carrying jewelry which will be available for the first time starting Friday.  The Gallery also has eclectic art work from local and international artists of all genres. Located in the Landfall Shopping Center on Military Cutoff Rd.  Open 11-4 on Saturday. 
New Elements Gallery is sponsoring a raffle to benefit Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity.  Customers could win a $250 gift certificate while helping out a wonderful organization in our community.   For each purchase of $25 between up to December 14th, you will receive a raffle ticket, with the winner receiving a gift certificate for $250 to New Elements GalleryRaffle tickets may also be purchased for $5 each.   The drawing is December 14th. 

For more information on small businesses in the downtown Wilmington area, follow this link:

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.