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Sales lag for Small Business Saturday in Augusta

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Maybe it was the bevy of major college football matchups Saturday afternoon.

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Jacqueline Phillips wraps a purchase for a customer at CommuniGraphics in North Augusta on Small Business Saturday.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Jacqueline Phillips wraps a purchase for a customer at CommuniGraphics in North Augusta on Small Business Saturday.

Maybe shoppers were resting from the frenzy of Black Friday.

Maybe people just didn’t realize it was Small Business Saturday.

Salespeople at area businesses offered a variety of possible reasons for lagging sales during Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as an incentive by American Express to encourage its members to shop at independent locally-owned stores. The credit card company offered its members $25 back if they spent at least $25 at a qualifying small business, according to its Web site.

But though several area businesses said they were busy Black Friday, most were slow even for a typical Saturday.

“I just asked the mailman, and he said it looked like it was slow all the way around,” said Sondra Graham, a saleswoman at Angevine’s Fine Silver in Surrey Center.

A sign on the door advertised a 10 percent discount for the Saturday sales event.

Graham chalked up lagging sales to the Georgia-Georgia Tech game.

On Friday and Saturday, Susan’s offered a buy three, get one for $1 sale. The $1 for the fourth item is donated to the Salvation Army.

But the sales staff were the only people in the Surrey Center store about 2 p.m.

“We had a nice day yesterday, but today has been quieter,” owner Susan Lanier said.

It was the same story a few minutes later on the upper level at Design Images and Gifts, though a couple of customers had just left.

“I don’t think people know about Small Business Saturday, do you?” saleswoman Amy Mitchell said.

She also wondered whether the football games kept people from shopping, but reported that the store’s Saturday sales had been normal.

At Communigraphics in North Augusta, quite a few customers were milling about Saturday morning, but traffic was slower than a typical Saturday, retail supervisor Kayla Williams said.

Sales staff walked around with trays offering guests baked goods to nibble as they shopped, as they do every weekend. On Friday, they offered shoppers a full hot breakfast including grits, bagels and coffee.

They also offered specials on both days for customers who subscribe to their e-mails and had sales on apparel, jewelry and Christmas items.

Pam Sowell was there in part to take advantage of the American Express offer, but mostly to take pictures of her granddaughter, Sarah Sowell, as she sat on Santa’s lap.

“Last year we did the same thing. We came to see Santa and spent it here,” she said.

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Augusta resident
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Augusta resident 11/25/12 - 10:28 pm
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Maybe they should try taking food stamps for payment. Their stores would be packed.

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