County merchants report record sales
Many local businesses experienced a record-breaking Black Friday
By Dianne Lively Yost
Madison and Morgan County merchants reported huge sales for Black Friday and the weekend after Thanksgiving. In fact, many shop owners interviewed by the Morgan County Citizen said they experienced the best Black Friday on record in terms of sales and/or consumer traffic, which could indicate the local economy’s future is shifting into positive territory.
Madison’s In High Cotton and Laughing Moon owner Rhonda Erwin said sales were “great both days – especially Friday, which is the norm. We were on the phone early Monday begging for stock to be shipped to both stores!”
Laughing Moon Manager Melissa Noe is glad to hear merchants had a great weekend. “It was a phenomenal one at Laughing Moon. All weekend it was the perfect mix of local customers and visitors who came specifically to shop in Madison. Throw in people just passing through town and it made for much hustle and bustle!”
Joellen Artz, owner of LilyBeth’s in Rutledge, said she was concerned after Friday since the shop’s sales were down slightly from a year ago, but Saturday changed that concern into optimism. “Oh my gosh! Saturday’s LilyBeth’s sales were up 155 percent over a year ago! And, the interesting thing was that several shoppers said they did the ‘Mall Thing’ on Friday and saved Saturday to ‘Shop Local and Shop Small.’ Nobody was aware of the opportunity for an American Express $25 credit on their statements, but everybody was aware of Small Business Saturday and the concept of shopping local.” But Artz said she’s concerned about this coming weekend because Rutledge had houses on the Christmas Tour of Homes last year and don’t this year. “I hope everybody who lives in Morgan County will shop and eat in Rutledge this weekend to support us,” she said.
Kim Watts, owner of Amelia’s in Madison, said: “We were slammed Friday! And Saturday was a great day too!”
Record Black Friday sales also made an appearance at Madison’s Town & Country shop. Owner Ginger Gardner said sales increased 54 percent. “I attribute the increase to more people in the community shopping locally and taking advantage of special discount promotions and services that are only offered at local, independently owned businesses. Also, we’re having colder weather than we had last year and I carry a lot of outerwear – The North Face, Patagonia, Columbia. Everyone’s buying those jackets and vests they didn’t buy last year.”
Linda Redford of Le Petit Jardin in Madison said, “We were very pleased with the amount of customers during the weekend.”
Patrick Alligood said that Antique Sweets experienced phenomenal sales. “It was the best Black Friday since we opened nine years ago. We had big families coming in together to shop.” Alligood’s mother Patty Alligood said it was an “exciting weekend” and hopes the rest of the Christmas season is as promising. “We’re very appreciative of our local shoppers,” she said.
Belles, Beaux & Gifts owner Thersa Bishop said of Black Friday: “It was amazing. The best Black Friday ever! Shoppers were a mix of out-of-town and in-town people. We appreciate everyone and think everyone had a good time. It was very festive!”
Keith Rex who owns and operates Just Out Of The Kloset Consignments, J&K Fleas An'Tiques, J&K Antiques Etc. said all three stores were “covered up with people” Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “We had Great sales – especially the consignment store where customers get name brand items at a fraction of the cost.”
Bella Madison was also very busy all day Friday. “We did have record sales for the day. People were coming in and buying as soon as we opened our doors,” said owner Diane Mcelhannon.
According to owner and Madisonian Jane Royal, Madison Markets was packed with customers both Friday and Saturday. “They were buying, but not spending what they did last year. At this time last year we practically sold out of all of our farm tables and other dining tables. This year, it was smaller items. There were some customers who said they were “eying” a pricy piece, but were afraid to buy until they knew where the economy was going. We’ve heard that a lot lately. That said, tour weekend is always big. We’re using the next few days getting ready for another back-toback big weekend!”
Restaurants also saw a pick-up in business. Kathi Russel, owner of The Madison Tea Room, said “It was an unbelievable day, both on Friday and Saturday! We were not able to seat all those who came in, as those with reservations had already taken the tables! They were some of the nicest people we have ever seen in the Tea Room! They were having a great time sipping tea and shopping for Christmas! It was a joy to be in business in Madison!”
Faye Craft of the Madison ChopHouse Grille said the restaurant had “an awesome Friday and Saturday!” Jolene Bush, owner of Perk Avenue agreed. “Black Friday was an awesome sales day. We were overflowing at the Perk.”
Sheri Clark, owner of The Madison Gift Mart & Café said both days (after Thanksgiving) were incredible. “But after the slow days it was great. I will say that they are looking for bargains; high-end items are slower even than last year. I do not think that all is good...we will have hard times for months to come,” Clark predicted.
But, many retailers are optimistic about the economy’s future. Vickie Hunt, owner of Barkin Dogs Shoe Co. in Madison said she had the best black Friday since she opened in 2008. “It was off the charts. The Best Black Friday ever!” She hopes the after Thanksgiving sales portend better times to come. “I’m optimistic.”
Printed in the November 29, 2012 edition.