In Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, the Black Friday weekend shopping scene is more reminiscent of an average shopping trip. Only a handful of shoppers can be seen carrying shopping totes in and out of stores. Several of the boutiques and local businesses were closed due to the holiday season.
At Art Star Gallery & Boutique—a hipster storefront—however, co-owner Meghan Brewster is a firm believer in keeping the doors open to attract customers and boost sales.
“The holiday season has always been a good time for us,” says Brewster. “We hope this year will be better than the last.” Brewster, who has owned the boutique with partner Erin Waxman for the past six years, says she’s felt the effects of the economy more than in previous years. “It’s slower,” she admits. “There are less people shopping.”
To bring in customers, Art Star has made a special effort to attract local shoppers with an increased advertising spend towards print ads. The store also boasts an active Facebook page, with a featured Item of the Day. In addition, the store is one of the main sponsors of a holiday advertising collaborative headed up by the Northern Liberties Business Association which will offer consumers an extra holiday discount on items they purchase from participating vendors on December 4-5.
Brewster hopes that such promotions will get customers in the door. Once in, she’s certain they will come to appreciate the specialty of its merchandise, which includes art, ceramics, houseware, holiday cards and ornaments. “Our items are handmade, better quality, and we offer a wide range of prices.”
At Joseph Fox Bookstore in Center City, customers were seen streaming in and out of the general independent bookstore all day on Small Business Saturday. According to Fox, the store has no mailing list or runs any special advertisements during the holiday season, however, he insists they’re faring better in sales this year than in previous years.
“We hold a lot of book events,” says Fox.
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