Let's get small

Don't forget local businesses in after-Thanksgiving shopping

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Are you going to the small to shop?

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has all of a sudden become a tradition of its own: Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to “Shop Small” at local retailers.

We encourage you to think of locally owned businesses all over the region, but downtown Augusta has a dense and perhaps surprisingly diverse and vibrant retail community that, oddly enough, seems to be on the upswing even in today’s economy.

There’s Artist’s Row, of course, but plenty of other shops – and a growing menu of restaurants and bistros for every taste.

“A taste of Britain and Greece and a bit of country music and whiskey have been added to the mix of restaurants and bars in downtown Augusta,” The Chronicle’s Meg Mirshak reported recently. “Downtown Saloon opened Nov. 2 at 1128 Broad St. The country music and dance bar is modeled after the Market Street Saloon in downtown Charleston, S.C. ...”

In addition, the owners of Metro A Coffee House and Pub have opened the full-service menu Whiskey Bar Kitchen next door.

The Greek and Italian “Eros Bistro” restaurant will open Dec. 1 at 10th and Broad, while Boar’s Head Public House will open the first week in December in the 1100 block of Broad.

For after-Thanksgiving shoppers, you’ll find discounts just like at the chains. The Book Tavern, 1026 Broad St., has discounts up to 50 percent on Friday, of course, but a special treat to really help shoppers go “small” Saturday: From noon to 4, the store will feature local authors signing their books, including David H. Hanks, who was on the International Atomic Energy Agency team awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Other local authors signing their books include The Chronicle’s own Charmain Zimmerman Brackett (noon to 4 p.m.) and Bill Baab (2-4 p.m.)

Figuring the big boys had Black Friday and the online retailers have “Cyber Monday,” American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010. It caught on so quickly that 100 million jumped in to participate last year – and it’s already a tradition. American Express even offers marketing advice and materials to small businesses and rewards to its enrolled cardmembers who “Shop Small.”

The company’s website even has a map of Augusta-area small businesses officially enrolled in its Shop Small program, at americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/.

The map makes downtown look like an absolute pincushion.

“Last year, we participated and had the best Saturday we’ve had since opening,” says David Hutchinson, owner of The Book Tavern.

One other added benefit to Augusta, Aiken and other small business locations around the region, particularly in downtown areas, is the ambience. There’s something refreshing, as opposed to hectic, about wandering along outdoor sidewalks for bargains and bistros. And the forecast calls for mostly strollable with a good chance of lounging.

Absolutely go to the mall.

But think about going to the small too.

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Riverman1 11/23/12 - 07:25 am
Zombie NBA Centers' Elbows to Ribs

There exists a population that sees insanity in jumping in lines and getting elbows to the ribs from mad shoppers acting like NBA centers protecting the paint. Downtown we will get away from yesterday’s food and experience a reflecting drink with other refugees from the Black Friday Plague. We will contemplate how civilization has gone irrational and how we avoided the mental illness. Then have another drink.

I once had a car battery die on Thanksgiving Day and, not realizing the walking dead zombie shoppers had invaded the Washington Rd. Walmart, went there to buy a battery Friday morning early. The crowd was huge and they all had the lifeless, shopping madness gaze, that saw no one.

I was taken completely by surprise in my necessary quest for a battery to bring life to my deceased car and one of the zombies must have bitten me in the neck that way they do or something. (Okay, so that's really vampires.)

Anyway, I came home with 3 TV’s and a battery. Avoid the walking dead elbows and have a drink and food with the refugees from the mall and big boxes.

Riverman1 11/23/12 - 07:28 am
Downtown Aiken

Don't even get me started how beautiful downtown Aiken is. Augusta, send people there to study and learn what they did right. Now let's all help downtown Augusta and have a drink and meal there today.

etlinks 11/23/12 - 08:19 am
IMO too many trees

My wife and I visited downtown Broad St. Wed. for lunch and some shopping. What stood out to me was the trees seem to block out a lot of nice views of the old buildings. Don't get me wrong I like trees but it just looks too cluttered in some places.Good food and good memories were enjoyed Wed. afternoon.

Riverman1 11/23/12 - 08:30 am
Too Many Trees?

I have never once heard the problem with a downtown area described as having too many trees. Goodness, in New York City they have the things growing in boxes along the street just to say they have trees.

seenitB4 11/23/12 - 09:40 am
zombie glazed look

Years back I too was caught up in the zombie dance....i bought over $500 bucks worth of stuff I really didn't need....I almost woke up when I saw the manager look at me with glee in his eyes.....clapping his hands too....but not fully awake though....I pushed that cart right up to the cashier just like I had good sense.....it took days for me to come back down to earth.....

David Parker
David Parker 11/23/12 - 09:51 am
I would 86 the parking bays

I would 86 the parking bays in the middle of Broad st and bring the trees inward (more like Green Street's median, but not as wide)

As for shopping, I'm going to spend all my gift money on decorations for the yard and make it prettier than ever, and there have been some pretty schemes in years past. Using what little scratch I have collectively, will get something more valuable than what I could afford individually. Don't know if I can find the stuff I need downtown, but I make a point to spend money down there on regular days anyway.

palmetto1008 11/23/12 - 01:10 pm
Woody Merry could take care

Woody Merry could take care of those trees, etlinks.

countyman 11/23/12 - 01:26 pm
I love the idea of supporting

I love the idea of supporting local!!!!!

allhans 11/23/12 - 07:37 pm
I agree with 86ing the

I agree with 86ing the parking bays. Horrendous sight..all that concrete.

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