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South Orange and Maplewood Merchants Thrive on Small Business Saturday

David Lackey

Sunday, December 1, 2013 • 9:28am

SOUTH ORANGE & MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The streets and shops were full of holiday shoppers for Small Business Saturday on November 30 as the communities turned out to support their local merchants in a big way.

“Every year Small Business Saturday gets stronger as more people become aware of it,” said Michael Casaren, co-owner of Sparkhouse, the toy store on Scotland Road in South Orange.

Merchants reported that traffic in their shops was much higher than on a typical Saturday.

“This has been a great day for us,” said Ben Salmon, owner of Kitchen a la Mode on South Orange Avenue.  “It’s wonderful to have the spotlight on local businesses.”

Business was so brisk at Words Bookstore in Maplewood that a customer actually volunteered to stay and do gift-wrapping for a few hours to help out.

“The store has been brimming with enthusiastic and friendly customers who are helping us celebrate this wonderful day,” said Words owner Jonah Zimiles.  “It is a testament to the kind of community we have here.”

Alan Weiser, the owner of Village Wine Shop on Maplewood Avenue said that Small Business Saturday always has a big impact on their sales.  For the day, a tasting of craft gin from a distiller in Brooklyn was being offered.

While no firm reasons can be determined, the informal survey of local businesses and first-hand touring of towns by The Alternative Press found many more Small Business Saturday shoppers in South Orange and Maplewood than in neighboring Millburn, where many merchants reported activity to be about the same as any other Saturday.

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