Crowd avoiders boost holiday sales for mom & pop's

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Not everyone headed to the malls and large box stores in search of Black Friday bargains. Many choose an alternative shopping experience off of the beaten path. That meant good news for small mom and pop shops in many downtown areas across the Mississippi Coast.

In the Social Chair gift shop, the people came looking for Black Friday deals without the crowds.

"You could not pay me enough to go to a mall today , the people and just the dark crowded places don't do much for me," said Anna Kathryne Kronenberger of Baton Rouge.

Dinah Knobloch of Diamondhead said the stress free shopping experience is what she looks for.

Knobloch wasn't at all enticed by the blockbuster sales the large chain store offer. She prefers a more laid back shopping experience.

"It's the personal customer service that you get here," said Knobloch.

"Also the uniqueness of the items that are here, and just in general the support of small business especially in Hancock County."

Folks who share her attitude have kept the cash registers ringing in small gift shops like the Social Chair in Old Downtown Bay St. Louis, and kicked-off their Christmas shopping season with a bang.

"Christmas is about 70 percent of what we make the entire year. It's a big deal," said gift shop owner, Yuki Northington.

That's why the Hancock Chamber Of Commerce has been making a push to have people shop local. Downtown merchants say they'll offer sales and other incentives too.

"We're staying open late, until 8, every Thursday in December, and most of the stores are going to have special events. We're having a teacher appreciation night, friends and family night. I've got my friend from HGTV Design Star Jordan Cappella coming in one night. A men's shopping night so lots of events," said Northington.

Saturday has been dubbed Shop Small Saturday to promote local business. Sunday is the Christmas parade in Old Town, so merchants hope to keep the momentum going.

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