Small Business Saturday supports local shops

A customer sat in the Conover Hardware parking lot at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The store opened at 7 a.m., manager Penny Corpening said. When it did, the customer bought one of everything in Conover Hardware's sale circular.

"She said 'these are great deals, I need this,'" Corpening said. "We have a lot of great deals, but it's not just about sales. It's about building relationships."

Dozens of local businesses across Catawba County hope to maintain those
relationships with customers throughout the holiday season that kicked into high gear on Black Friday. A spotlight falls on those shops today, which is Small Business Saturday, a national awareness movement to support local businesses.

Dana's Fine Jewelry in Newton will offer specials and giveaway drawings today in relation to the small business event.

"We'll have specials on different items throughout different hours of the day," said store owner Dana Ramseur. "My thing is shopping local.

You can get a better price, better quality and better service."

Ramseur said her store gets busier as Christmas Day nears. She said people often visit big-box and chain stores because they publicize big sales, and people shop online for the convenience but don't exactly know what they're getting with purchases.

Many customers visit Dana's after Christmas with jewelry products that don't fit or don't match what they were promised in quality, Ramseur said.

"Honestly, if they shop local at stores that specialize, they get better price and quality with it than any sale they find," she said.

"To me, it's like we're doing them a favor if they come here. Big-box stores, a lot of money goes to corporate. Here, it stays local and helps the community."

The community also benefits from good service from business owners who have an interest in a strong local economy, Corpening said.

"If you don't want to fight the crowds and the mall and you really want to talk to somebody, come on in," she said. "Even if products aren't made locally, you can get local service."