By VERNON ROBISON
Local store owners said they had good deals last weekend at the annual Small Business Saturday event on Nov. 27 in Mesquite.
The event, sponsored by the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with American Express and the Small Business Saturday Coalition, is scheduled annually to encourage area residents to shop locally.
âIt’s really about reminding people that there are businesses right down the street where they can shop while on vacation,â said House Speaker and CEO Carol Kolson. âThey don’t have to go to big box stores or send their stuff to online retailers. He can stay here to help stimulate the local economy.
A total of 14 Mesquite companies were official participants in the day’s festivities. Many of them had sales or specials to celebrate Small Business Saturdays. Traders said they were busy with customer traffic throughout the morning.
âEverything has gone really well so far,â said Brian Boatright, manager of Mesquite Ace hardware. âWe’ve been busy today. And I think, in general, the store has been busier because of the growth we’ve seen in the community. “
Boatright said one of the store’s big vacation attractions is its full line of barbecue grills, including a local favorite: the smoker Traeger.
âLast week we had a demo night showing what you can do with some of these grills,â Boatright said.
âSince then, we have been selling them commercially. We keep putting more together to put them on the ground, but they sell out as fast as we build them. “
Another vacation favorite at the store is the full inventory of available power tools, Boatright said. These include Milwaukee, DeWalt, Craftsman, and other top brands.
The store has shelves full of Christmas lights and holiday decorating items.
âWe even have live Christmas trees for sale in the parking lot,â Boatright said. “They’re here, fresh from Oregon.”
There was also a lot of Shop Small action on Saturday at Bark! Kennel Club. To bark! owners Mark and Susan Hunter were in vacation mode for the local dog group. A tent was set up in the parking lot in front of the Club where dog owners could get âpuppy portraitsâ with Santa Claus and the Grinch.
Santa Claus had a special bark! Pup Treat for each dog that comes to have their picture taken with Santa Claus. The treats were an original bark! recipe prepared in the kitchen of Santa Claus himself!
Local entrepreneur Wade Hughes, who is working on the new Bark location! The Canine Club Park in the west of town was present as a special guest at the event. Hughes said everything is falling into place to begin construction of the dog park in the coming months.
âThings will go pretty quickly after this,â said Susan Hunter. âWe don’t anticipate having to spend another summer there.
There was a steady stream of shoppers throughout the morning at The Front Porch Flowers and Gifts, according to Keeley Watkins and Zoe Zubia who kept the shop on Saturday.
The first customers of the morning received gift baskets. On top of that, the store was fully decorated for the holidays, including free Christmas cookies for shoppers.
âWe had fun putting all of our Christmas things in plain sight,â Watkins said. âBefore that, it was just a few Christmas stuff that we released. But now it’s good to finally jump into the holiday season. “
Watkins said store staff enjoy working with customers to organize personalized holiday decor for their homes.
âAnd of course we have flowers that people can order for the holidays this time of year,â Watkins added.
Across the street at the Mesquite Art Gallery, members of the Virgin Valley Artists Association (VVAA) were showcasing their work at a special Christmas sale in the shop that runs by December 31.
All three feet of table space in the gallery featured the work of a different artist. There was sculpture, glasswork, jewelry, ceramics, pottery, photography, paintings and more; all prices are for the local vacation buyer.
âEach item here is totally unique,â ââsaid VVAA attendant Jane Johnson. âWhen you buy a gift here, you won’t find another like this anywhere. “
These are just a few of the participating merchants offering specials on Saturdays. Others included Rooster Cottage, Verizon, Danielle’s Chocolates and Popcorn, The Boutique at Stephen Hair, High Desert Design, Body & Soul Co-Op, Boulevard Home, Deep Roots Harvest, Desert Oasis Spa & Salon and Hole Foods Bakery.
Each store participated in an activity created by the staff of the Chamber of Commerce. In each of the stores was a hidden gnome figurine that was handcrafted by House staff. Shoppers could browse each store to locate the gnome. They then dropped a ticket into a special gnome drawing box located in each store. This would enter buyers into a raffle.
This week, House staff are collecting all of the Gnome Drawing Boxes from each merchant and will raffle the winners. Winners receive a $ 25 gift card for the store as well as the little gnome himself.
âIt was great to see people shopping locally today, rather than ordering a freebie online,â Kolson said. “Plus, you have the item in your hands when you leave so you know it won’t be late.”
Kolson expressed his gratitude to all who attended the successful event. âThanks to everyone who bought something on Saturday,â she said. âYou are helping to retain businesses here and attract more businesses to Mesquite. “