11/25/12 — Time to shop local

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Time to shop local

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 25, 2012 1:50 AM

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Dylan Miller, 14, tries on a new pair of shoes at the Family Shoe Store in downtown Goldsboro early Friday afternoon.

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Jennifer King looks at shirts at From the Heart in Berkeley Mall early Saturday afternoon.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, shoppers continued to filter through stores Saturday searching for deals and finishing off shopping lists on what's being called Small Business Saturday.

With the big box store discounts long gone, the day is promoted as an opportunity to shop locally owned small businesses for holiday deals.

The two-day shopping combination has historically been a boost for Skeet and Debbie Talton, who own From The Heart in Berkeley Mall.

Talton said midday Saturday that his store's sales were down just a tad from last year, although shoppers were trickling in slowly -- likely the result of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping hangovers.

"It probably has something to do with the big stores opening at different hours," he said, pointing out that many customers he spoke with on Black Friday had already been home to nap before returning to the mall for round two.

But that wasn't the case with Allison Wade, who was rifling through From The Heart's mall kiosk full of camouflage jackets and hunting-themed T-shirts.

Mrs. Wade prefers the laid-back shopping atmosphere after the rush -- and to spend her money where it can have the most impact.

"I do more shopping at smaller stores," she said. "I do like to shop with local people because I know it does benefit them."

Her future daughter-in-law, Amy Jarman, echoed those sentiments.

"You don't find this stuff in JC Penney or Belk," she said, referencing the Guy Harvey and Drake merchandise at From The Heart.

With her fiance and future sister-in-law out hunting Saturday morning, it was clear that the outdoor apparel would make great gifts.

But locally owned big-ticket item stores were riding high on the crest of Black Friday as well, according to Eddie Christian, owner of Daughtry Jewelers.

His store opened at 6 a.m. Friday and he had gotten little sleep through Saturday morning as customers continued to come in to browse.

He said many shoppers were likely burned out Saturday due to the extension of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day, but that his store had seen many customers who came to the mall to grab deals at some of the bigger stores.

This shopping season will be especially important to his store, as it's the first since Daughtry was relocated last year due to damage to the mall atrium from Hurricane Irene.

"People have come by and said 'We're glad you're back again,'" he said.

Loyal customers had stuck by the jeweler, he said, which is regarded as a landmark in the mall.

He said he'll likely open his store at midnight on Black Friday next year since the mall was flooded with shoppers thanks to big deals from Belk, Gamestop and Aeropostale, but he's mindful of how important the shopping days are to small businesses like his.

"The chain stores are going to get theirs," he said. "It's the independents I'm worried about."