Small Business Saturday is a little over a week away, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30, the same day as the holiday parade and Miracle on Main tree lighting in downtown Sayville.
The Shop Small Winter Wonderland will be held right after the parade, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a trolley, an ice-skating rink, an appearance from Santa, a carousel and more, according to the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce.
Dora Chan has been operating her children’s clothing store, Poor Baby, on Main Street for 25 years. She estimates that her business is one of the oldest on the block, and she is eager to participate in the festivities again this year.
Chan, a Sayville resident, said she always wanted to open a small business in her hometown. “Even if it’s tough, we tough it out,” she said, adding that online retailers like Amazon make it increasingly difficult. “Some people still have a small-shop mentality, but it’s not enough.”
One of her employees Donna Campo, an Islip resident, said she likes to physically touch a product before she buys it. “I have to see it up close,” she said, adding that everything is too flat when viewing it on a screen. Chan agreed, adding that sometimes the product you receive isn’t the same one you purchased online.
Debi Wickcliffe, a first-time small business owner, opened The Catbird Seat on Main Street about two and a half years ago. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said, explaining that her gallery showcases work by four local artists every six weeks or so. “We hold a reception and everything and at the end of the six weeks, the old stuff comes down and the new work goes up.”
When asked about online competitors, Wickcliffe said her business carries items that you don’t normally find online. Some of the shop’s most popular items are those from the Dixie Belle Paint Company and June Jewelry.
“Those are the big sellers,” she said.
Kayla Quinn works at her mother’s store, Irish Crossroads, on Main Street. She said Small Business Saturday is always fun for the holidays. Her mother, Kathleen, explained that they’re more of a destination store and one of only three places like it on Long Island. “We’re also the farthest east, so we’re closest to Ireland,” she said, with a laugh.
Michelle Burton and her husband, Steven, have been operating Michelle Burton Interiors on Railroad Avenue for nearly two years. The couple has been Sayville residents for almost 20 years and working in the interior design business for about as long. But it was only a few years ago that they decided to go out on their own. The couple said a business like theirs allows customers to touch and feel the products before buying them.
“You want to feel what something is like first,” Michelle Burton said. “You want to touch the fabric.”
Steven Burton further explained that about 90 percent of what they sell is made in the United States, as opposed to many online competitors and big-box stores.
“Also, when there is a customer-service issue, we resolve it as quickly as possible,” he added. “It’s not that easy with online purchases.” n