Merchants hope for busy holiday weekend

Published 5:42 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2018


NATCHEZ — Many local merchants are hoping an eventful weekend will amount to lots of local shoppers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Natchez will be buzzing Saturday with the Gumbo Cook-off, Tree Lighting, North Pole Playground and Santa appearing at Home Bank. The cook-off winners will be announced at 7 p.m. along with a spectacle of pyrotechnics and snow and the tree lighting at the corner of Main and Commerce streets.

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Debbie Hudson, president of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, said the weekend events are part of a Think Natchez First campaign to encourage people to shop and dine locally.

“The Christmas in Natchez committee began nine years ago to strategically plan and market both events and to decorate our community in hopes of bringing visitors and keeping families here,” Hudson said. “Instead of being our worst months for tourism, it has proven to be a better time because of the focused efforts.”

Gwen Massey, owner of Soiree Boutique, 505 Main St., Natchez, said her store would open at 8 a.m. for Black Friday with the best discounts for those who come in early and a 10 percent discount carrying over throughout Small Business Saturday.

Massey said she anticipates an increase in local traffic throughout the weekend.

“It’s typically more slow on Saturday, but we’re hoping that changes because they moved the lighting of the Christmas tree to Saturday, which I hope will bring more traffic downtown,” Massey said.

At Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries, 515 Main St, Natchez, owner Jim Smith said the art the business offer is a great way to give someone a gift that represents Natchez through paintings of blues musicians, local architecture and handmade jewelry.

Smith said he’s hoping for a holiday push Friday with an early 8 a.m. opening and his Fourth Friday event that features food, drinks and live music from 5 to 7 p.m.

“I’m hoping for a big turnout,” Smith said. “We have a lot of local artists and craftsmen and I hope everyone will shop local and support the local artists.”

At Nest, 505 Franklin St., manager Elaine Tyler said the store has a broad selection of Christmas items on display, including pre-decorated and lighted foil trees and pine and spruce trees that are approximately 4-feet tall.

“We’re expecting a lot of people,” Tyler said. “We have the best Christmas trees in town. We have trees already decorated with ornaments and lights; just plug it in and go.”

Across the street, The Pampered Soul, 506 Franklin St., sales associate Karen Linton said she plans to work Thanksgiving Day to get ready for the store’s biggest sale of the year, which includes items as inexpensive as boutique jewelry starting at 50 cents and boots starting at $5.

Linton said 40 or more customers lined the sidewalk last year waiting for the store to open.

“I have people calling from out of state making sure we’re having our Black Friday sale. It has grown and grown,” Linton said.