If some small businesses in Kingsport and Gate City are any indication, Small Business Saturday 2017 was a resounding success.
“It’s been great. We have been covered up all day,” said Reed Dykes, who co-owns River Mountain Antiques & Primitives on Broad Street with his wife, Debbie. “I’m going to have to get out to work and get some inventory.”
From antiques to gifts, collectibles, records and music posters, pet supplies and prints signed by the artist, the day was marked by lines of folks waiting to support local businesses.
“We come every year,” Margie Cable said while at the Haggle Shop Antiques open house with her twin sister, Marcie Hutchens. The Blountville residents are regulars at the Haggle Shop on Broad Street.
“We don’t buy much furniture, but we like knickknacks,” Cable said.
Nearby, Marie Blankenship looked as friend Brian O’Conner negotiated the purchase of movie posters with dealer Nelson Elam.
O’Conner settled on “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” but put another on hold. He is adding to a collection of horror movie posters but also is buying some man cave-type items for his brother.
“We hit all the antique stores and Trader’s Village,” O’Conner said.
Blankenship’s taste, she said, runs more toward “a lot of china, any odd pieces.”
Pat Buckley Moss, a Blacksburg, Va., artist who signed prints at Up Against the Wall Gallery owned by Mike and Lisa Anne Milhorn, said she loves to help small businesses.
“I have come here for about 30 years. They are like my kids. I adore them,” Buckley said.
Over in Gate City, Debra Greene of The Ivy Cottage on West Jackson Street said antiques sold well there. “It’s been very, very good today,” Greene said.
And Vickie Roberts, owner of Roberts & Jones, a “unique” items shop on West Jackson, said: “Four customers came back in (from out of town) who visited us on Small Business Saturday last year.”
Memory Lane Antiques owner Jackie Kimbler said Saturday traffic at the store was higher than she expected.
Back in Kingsport, Haggle Shop owner Joyce Grills said the turnout and sales were better than she anticipated. The store was having its open house, which means free food, and the event will continue Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with whatever food is still available.
Thom Throp, owner of Wallace News, said his business picked up, too. Grills and Throp said the buzz downtown recently has centered on The Mercantile on Broad, a gift and decor business expanding from a Bristol location, that had a soft opening Saturday and a long line pf visitors.
“This is one of my busiest days, typically, Small Business Saturday,” Blakley-Mitchell owner Bill Testerman said. “We get new customers every day.”
Over at P&J Antiques, co-owner Pat Houchens was decorating a window for Christmas and agreed.
“We have no complaints,” said Houchens, who co-owns P&J with her husband, Jerry. “They’re (shoppers) downtown earlier today.” Among folks at P&J were Vernon and Annette Pike from Rutledge, Tenn. They were contemplating the purchase of a child’s bicycle like one she had as a child.
Paul Davis of PD’s Records, on Broad Street, said most of his browsers and buyers are repeat visitors but some new ones came in to check out music posters, long-playing records and 45 rpm records. Over at Cherie’s Boutique, Melody Howard of Art & Soul Creations and Kim Broadwater of Down on the Farm rent space and said their businesses have been up with the 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Sip & Stroll” tours downtown the first Thursday of each month.