Inside the Fifth Street Antiques store at the corner of Fifth Street and Pollasky Avenue in Old Town Clovis on Saturday, owner Wanda Leon greeted customers who popped in.
Leon was in on the effort to draw shoppers to her small antique shop, charging no sales taxes on items in her store as crowds flocked to Old Town Clovis for Small Business Saturday.
“We had people rushing in the second we opened our door. That was great that they are here to enjoy Old Town Clovis and the small businesses,” Leon said.
Antique items at her store include toys, vintage collectibles and even military memorabilia. The no-sales-tax incentive made it easier for customers to take home merchandise at wholesale prices, she said.
“It’s our answer to Black Friday,” Leon says. “We don’t have TVs people can rush in and go out with, but we have really special unique items.”
American Express first launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, and since then, Leon says, she has been taking part in the effort to attract customers to smaller businesses. In 2015, 95 million people shopped small and local on Small Business Saturday nationwide.
There’s a lot of people who are out shopping and they want to support local, and I think that’s great.
Amy Cortell, 26, owner of The Urban Umbrella
Lemoore resident Katchie Carney, 57, says Old Town Clovis is usually the place to go when her mom, 84-year-old Ginny Carney, visits from the Bay Area.
“This just turned out to be small merchant Saturday (and) we are having a great time,” Katchie Carney said. The pair was looking around for things they liked but also were on the lookout for Christmas gifts.
Ginny Carney said although she is from the Bay Area, she loves Clovis’ downtown and likes that shoppers get to experience her favorite small businesses.
“I was happy to see they were advertising (Small Business Saturday) and people will come,” she said. “Then, the small business people will make a little money.”
Katchie Carney said she was not aware that stores were waiving sales taxes until after her mom bought something at the Fifth Avenue Antiques store. She called it a good incentive.
“That should get anybody in here, you bet,” she said.
Ginny Carney wouldn’t reveal what she bought, saying it was a Christmas gift, but said her favorite items to purchase in Old Town Clovis are cream pitchers, and antique chickens and roosters.
At Country Rose II Antiques and Accents on Fifth Street, vinyl record dealer Frank Joseph Prado, 42, offered small discounts on his items Saturday.
The Country Rose II store, with 27 different dealer booths within the store, offered several unique items such as handmade jewelry, vintage furniture and religious items among other merchandise.
The store has been taking part in Small Business Saturday for about two years. Three years ago, the store was destroyed by a fire.
“The roof, everything came (down),” said Frank Prado Sr., Frank Joseph’s dad, who has been a dealer inside that business location for about 30 years.
A new store on Fourth Street near Woodworth Avenue is offering consignment goods – clothing, soaps, candles and paintings made by local artists in the Central Valley. Urban Umbrella owner Amy Cortell, 26, says her business is just three months old. She moved to Clovis from Cleveland two years ago.
“I’m excited to be in this community that supports these kind of events,” Cortell said. “There’s a lot of people who are out shopping and they want to support local, and I think that’s great.”
There were signs around her store to show Cortell was taking part in Small Business Saturday.
As part of Small Business Saturday incentives, Cortell was offering a discount on a DIY class she was hosting Sunday. She also waived sales tax on store merchandise and gave customers a chance to enter a raffle throughout the day to win a prize.
Cortell believes events like Small Business Saturday help small businesses gain attention and customers.
“I think a lot of people want to see more local products, and I think a lot of people didn’t even realize what we have here in Clovis,” Cortell said.