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Small businesses shine Saturday in Natchez

NATCHEZ — It’s true Baton Rouge has good shopping, as do Jackson and New Orleans.

But so does Natchez, and Saturday bargain hunters and holiday shoppers rushed away from big box Black Friday deals to see what Natchez’s small town retail had to offer during Small Business Saturday.

A broad push embraced by merchants across the country, Small Business Saturday is intended to keep neighborhoods thriving and boost local economies by encouraging residents to shop local first.

Organized by the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce and Callie Godfrey, the assistant manager of Dianne’s Frame Shop and Gifts, approximately a dozen Natchez shops rallied together to promote Small Business Saturday on social media and in other avenues and by offering sale incentives they might not offer on a regular day.

And apparently it worked.

“We were booming (Saturday),” Godfrey said.

“I think a lot of people knew about it and were excited for the sales. It is great to have all these people coming into the business downtown and along the strip.”

The key to making Small Business Saturday successful, Godfrey said, was in not only promoting her own place of business but other businesses as well.

“We had people come in who might not know about other businesses, and we would tell them about (that business) and send them down, because this is about coming together as a community and not wanting all the customers for yourself,” she said.

“I want the other businesses to succeed. The more (businesses) we have, the more we can bring people in from outside the community who will say, ‘Oh, Natchez is great, they have all these great boutiques.’”

Tamara Kelly, co-owner of Jack and Stella and one of the Small Business Saturday participants, said after seeing this year’s success she wouldn’t hesitate to join in on a similar promotion again.

“We have been here three years, and this was our best Black Friday weekend of all, so I think it turned out wonderful,” she said.

Katie McCarstle, owner of Katie’s Ladies, said word of the deals being offered and the philosophy behind it spread as well, leading to what she characterized as an “excellent” day.

“Several people were here saying, ‘We are here because we are trying to shop all the small stores today,’” McCarstle said.

“As business owners, we want everyone to know we all appreciate it very much.”