MANNINGTON – People lined up down the streets of Mannington Saturday waiting to get into Something Special.
The Mannington store is an independent business that sells primitives, and the morning rush was from the local residents who love the store as a demonstration of support on Small Business Saturday.
“People started lining up outside our store around 6 a.m.,” said Regina Fluharty, owner of Something Special. “Today was a very successful day for us over here, and over here, there were tons of people walking the streets of the town.”
American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 as an effort to give more attention to the small, often family-owned or sole proprietorship businesses that keep communities afloat. Given that Black Friday has taken the attention of many shoppers to corporations and chain stores, the effort helped shine a spotlight on small businesses the following day each year.
In Mannington, nonprofit Main Street Mannington helped to promote Small Business Saturday, by shining a spotlight on the local businesses in the city. Before the pseudo-holiday, the organization shared videos of several Mannington businesses on its Facebook page, to bring more customers in on Saturday.
“This makes our fifth year doing it,” said Anthony Fluharty, president of Main Street Mannington and Regina’s husband. “We can’t compete with the chain stores on Friday, so this makes a big deal for us small guys.”
As part of the festivities in Mannington, several of the local businesses promoted special deals and offers to help bring even more attention to the day. Mannington Middle School held a craft show throughout the day, and the city’s Christmas committee showed off gingerbread houses sponsored by local organizations, and also let people vote on their favorite decorated lamp post.
Some of the special offers of businesses in the city were themselves like events, where families could go for some extra fun.
“Today I can make it a special day where people can come in and get things they can typically only get at festivals,” said Ben Kolb, owner of Nativibes. “I came up with this idea this year to let the kids make their own ornaments, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Seeing people walk the streets in groups was a great sight for some of the business owners because it’s not too common to see Mannington sidewalks crowded with people.
“It’s exciting to see so many people shopping and the community just comes together,” said Virginia Dobreff, owner of Mountaineer Florist. “And from a business owner’s perspective, it’s great, because you see that the things that you hoped people would like, they like and they’re buying, so you know you’re doing something right with your shop.”
Paula Martin, a manager at Mountaineer Florist, added that the promotion of Small Business Saturday has helped to bring more people to all the shops in Mannington, which is nothing but positive for the businesses.
“You get new customers, new faces from out of town,” Martin said. “And it’s always good to give back to the customers.”
Anthony added that the leaders of Main Street Mannington are working to involve even more businesses in the city in special events, and by next year, Small Business Saturday will possibly double in size.
“We’re reaching out to a lot of people now, we hope to keep growing that,” Anthony said. “We’re going to keep promoting this hard, it’s a big deal for us. We’ll really promote it hard next year.”
For Regina, Small Business Saturday and the ensuing holiday season are pivotal to the revenue of the shop, because it is when the business brings in the most revenue.
“We expect this money to help us get through the rest of the year, and it really does,” Regina said. “This is our day for small businesses, this is what gets us through the rest of the year and the winter months.”
Mannington’s Christmas parade topped off the day of events when dozens of floats cruised through the streets to kick off the holiday season.