Local Shops Prosper on Small Business Saturday

As more are making a conscious effort to shop locally while lending a hand to struggling small and independent merchants in their own neighborhoods, Small Business Saturday followed that trend and subsequently proved a boon for some Charles Street retail establishments.

“We had a great turnout for Small Business Saturday,” said Lana Barakat, the proprietor of December Thieves at 51 Charles St., as well as its sister establishment and next-door neighbor at 53 Charles St., Thieves Next Door, “It was really incredible to see how much community support we received.”

Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill (at right) and KitchenWares by Blackstones at 46 Charles St.
J McLaughlin on Charles Street.

The customers who visited her stores last Saturday were certainly in the “Shop Small mindset” and committed to “keeping their purchases local,” she said, while also being mindful of adhering to social distancing and other public-safety protocol.

“Everyone was in really good spirits, too,” Barakat said, “so all-around, it was a great success.”

Jennifer Hill, who, together with her husband, Jim, owns and operates Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill and KitchenWares by Blackstones, which are both located under the same roof at 46 Charles St., also said Small Business Saturday was an unmitigated success for them, although in-store sales only accounted for a portion of their revenue.

“The day was a real mix of sales,” Hill said, “and I can confidently say it was one of our best Small Business Saturdays ever because of everything – an increase in online shopping, curbside pickups and shipping [orders].”

Hill added, “One takeaway we learned is more people are saying they prefer to find items in a local store than to go somewhere else, and I’ve heard that more this year than in any other years.”

Linens on the Hill at 52 Charles St., in contrast, had a sluggish Small Business Saturday. But this came as no surprise to its proprietor, Lynne Wolverton, who said the day is typically slow for them, since many of their regular customers are typically out of town for the weekend following Thanksgiving.

“Friday was a good day, oddly enough, but Saturday was relatively slow,” Wolverton said. “It’s never a big weekend for me because so many people go away.”

Meanwhile, Red Wagon at 69 Charles St. had a profitable Saturday Business Saturday, but even so, the store’s receipts for the day always fall far short of those for the Beacon Hill Business Association’s annual Holiday Stroll, which is usually scheduled for the first week in December, but has been postponed this year due to the pandemic.

“Small Business Saturday was actually pretty good for us,” said Suzy O’Brien, proprietor of the longstanding children’s clothing store, “but the Holiday Stroll is the thing we’ll miss the most.”

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