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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Local businesses had nothing but good news to report following the biggest shopping day of the year.
Boutiques and small businesses all over Starkville offered extra discounts and extended hours to bring customers in for some Black Friday shopping to kick off the holiday season.
‚ÄúWe actually had, if not the best Black Friday we‚Äôve ever had, it was close to it. It beat the last two years by a lot,‚ÄĚ Occasions Gift Shop owner Pat Ramsey said. ‚ÄúThere was just so much excitement in the air. People were just out on Main Street having so much fun.‚ÄĚ
Managers and owners reported their stores were packed throughout the day.
‚ÄúIt went above our expectations for sure. It went really well. We opened at 9 a.m., and there were people in the parking lot at 6:45 a.m.,‚ÄĚ Deep South Pout owner Shannon Stoker said. ‚ÄúWe were non-stop busy with a line all day.‚ÄĚ
The boutique offered 25 percent off of every item in store for its very first Black Friday. Stoker said the business advertised its sales on social networking sites and encouraged people to stay in Starkville instead of going to bigger cities like Tupelo or Birmingham to do their holiday shopping.
‚ÄúWe were packed from the minute we opened and we had a line waiting to get in,‚ÄĚ Book Mart manager Carolyn Abadie said. ‚ÄúWe saw people that we normally don‚Äôt see because they go to the bigger cities, and I think they realize that we all need to support our little town.‚ÄĚ
Owners attributed the increase in sales to a number of things, including a home football game for Mississippi State University, nice weather and the push to shop local.
‚ÄúI really do think the Main Street Association really helped to get the word out for local businesses who were going to be open on Black Friday,‚ÄĚ Stoker said.
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership and the Starkville Main Street Association each made an effort inform the public about the importance of shopping locally.
‚ÄúThe Partnership involvement with helping keep shoppers local has been a tremendous help to us,‚ÄĚ Ramsey said. ‚ÄúAnd hopefully it had something to do with the economy getting better ‚ÄĒ hopefully.‚ÄĚ
Other owners agreed the sales may indicate the economy is finally starting to turn around. Several reported crowds came back again on Saturday to shop, which they said they felt was a good sign.
‚ÄúI just think that people are starting to spend money again,‚ÄĚ Polka Tots owner Brecken Crabtree said.