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Arlington, Marysville participate in Small Business Saturday

 

Kirk Boxleitner

Lorene Wren, of Wrenhaven Vintage Market in Marysville, bundles up some Christmas presents for Kaitlin North on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

Gay North and her daughter Kaitlin planned to stop at close to 20 shops in Marysville and Snohomish during this year's Small Business Saturday, but their first stop of the day was the Wrenhaven Vintage Market on Third Street.

"We've been doing this at least four years now," Gay North said. "It's merchants like Lorene Wren who keep us coming back. They know us by name."

As Kaitlin North joined her mother in getting the Christmas presents she'd purchased bundled up tight by Wren, she encouraged others to give their neighborhood shops a shot.

"You might walk past their storefronts every day, but not know what they have to offer," Kaitlin North said. "You should be open-minded and check them out."

Although the rain on Saturday, Nov. 26, contributed to a slow start that morning, Wren nonetheless expected that she'd see at least 100 customers pass through her doors, a typical number for her shop on Small Business Saturday.

"We have the best customers," Wren said. "Our regulars make a point of attending events like this. It can be hard for mom-and-pop stores like ours to compete with the big box stores, which is why we're so grateful to American Express for starting Small Business Saturday six years ago."

Just down the block at Hilton Pharmacy, Michelle Aandahl and her daughter Lydia braved the wet weather to take part in Small Business Saturday for their second year in a row.

"We were on our way to decorate our church when we decided to stop by one of our favorite stores in Marysville," Michelle Aandahl said. "Hilton's has all sorts of fun home décor items for the holidays that are pretty and unique."

The Aandahls don't go in for most Black Friday sales, preferring instead to shop online or patronize their local merchants.

The five businesses at 1059 State Ave., just north of Marysville City Hall, set out tents to shelter shoppers from the rain, as Shannon Nielsen sold Tupperware to Deann Evans of the Competition Hair Salon and Dr. Aaron Statner of Premier Upper Cervical Chiropractic.

"We're relatively new to the area, and my wife just started her business in my space this July," Statner said, referring to Dr. Sara Wainwright's Inspire Body Sculpting. "We're kind of hidden away on this strip, so we wanted to get the word out so more folks could see us and meet with us."

While Statner and Evans' businesses were raffling off an Amazon Fire tablet in Marysville, the Arlington Pharmacy drew returning customers such as Jana Harper, taking part in her fourth Small Business Saturday this year.

"Well, it's officially the Christmas shopping season, so I'm making the most of it," Harper said. "I love all our little shops. The pharmacy has great handmade gifts from local artists."

Indeed, cashier Sherry Elsing touted the selection of Well Said Jewelry, hand-crafted in Arlington by Cate Florey, as a draw for more than one customer, even in the midst of the day's persistent downpour.

Mike and Angela Anderson were likewise inspired to take part in Small Business Saturday out of a combination of concern for their hometown merchants and an affinity for one-of-a-kind trinkets.

"We're heading to the thrift stores for some old records after this," said Mike Anderson, as he perused the wares at Arlington Pickers on Olympic Avenue. "This store has reasonable prices and a good variety of stuff."

"Their selection is outside of the norm," agreed Angela Anderson, who's visited Arlington Pickers four times, while Mike has stopped by six times. "I really love their reclaimed wood."

Although Arlington Pickers owner Shane Henderson deemed the day's foot traffic healthy considering the weather, he reported that Friday saw more business, although he doubts any of those patrons were Black Friday shoppers.

"We were a little more busy than usual, but they were mostly just our regular customers," Henderson said. "Our folks come by because they enjoy our small-town feel."

Customer loyalty, regardless of what day of the week it is, plays a big part in Charles Braunbach's return visits to Britt Sport Cards.

Kirk Boxleitner

Mike and Angela Anderson check out the selection of curios at Arlington Pickers on Olympic Avenue during Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26.

"Tis the season, by which I mean, football season," said Braunbach, as he went through Mike Britt's football cards. "I try to come in every Saturday, even when it's not Small Business Saturday. Mike takes care of me, even if he does make fun of my [Cleveland] Indians."

"You never know how well the weather will turn out in the Pacific Northwest," Britt said. "But I feel like there's been a lot more emphasis on Small Business Saturday this year than ever before. I've received feedback from my fellow downtown Arlington businesses, all saying they've been doing pretty well. And American Express has made it so easy for merchants to jump into this deal."

Britt expects to extend his Small Business Saturday sales through the rest of the holiday season.

 

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