Local News

After the maul at the mall, downtown's more sedate

SEBRING - Ask Steve Shevick what's for sale at Chic Chick Boutique, and he takes a breath.

"We have 50 percent off all belts, a free gift with any purchase of Guy Harvey, 50 percent off of earrings, 50 percent off of certain handbags, 25 percent off of select apparel, 25 percent off of heart and pearl and monogram necklaces, 25 percent off hats... You want me to go on?"

After soaring past Gray Thursday and surviving the maul at the mall on Black Friday, tomorrow is for you. So, shouldn't it a tad more - restive?

Welcome to Small Business Saturday in downtown Sebring, Avon Park, and of course, Main Street in Lake Placid, where the Shevick's clothing store has been open eight years.

"I can't say everything's on sale," Shevick added, "we just got in some brand new clothing. But almost everything."

Some small retailers just close on Black Friday, figuring it's impossible to beat the giants.

But there are people, said his wife, Gini, "who don't want to deal with hustle and bustle and stand in long lines at the registers. We give them specialized service. They want help, and you're not going to find that at big-box stores."

A neighbor, Amber Louise Boutique, is offering 30 percent off select items and an additional 15 percent off if they bring the newspaper ad.

Small-town retailers can focus on service. "We have free gift wrapping while you wait," said Nancy Davis, co-owner of Lake Placid Feed & Western Wear. Customers who buy $50 worth of Wranglers get a free George Straight CD compilation of number one hits called "Nothin' But the Ones." They can also get a $5 rebate on Case pocket knives.

Out on U.S. 27, GHC Motorsports is offering 10 percent discounts on motorcycle or ATV covers and helmets. Sebringraceway.com has free general car parking passes with the purchase of two four-day supertickets. Stop by Malibu Tan on Friday or Saturday, and get a spray tan session for $20 or a two-level bed for $30 per month.

In Sebring, it's another Sip and Stroll from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

"Attendees can pick up a souvenir logo Heartland Holiday Festival tumbler glass with a lid at Heartland Real Estate, 205 Circle Park Drive, or $15 or two for $20," said Casey Wohl at Gray Dog Communications. Pre-order tumblers at Dogtown USA, 112 N. Ridgewood Dr.

With a wine glass in hand, shoppers can leisure by participating Downtown Sebring merchants who also offer festive egg nog, apple cider, coffee and tea.

Small Business Saturday, an awareness campaign started in 2010 by American Express to help small business owners in the tough Great Recession economy, supports local business that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods, Wohl said.

Sebring shoppers can use a "Buy Downtown Sebring" card to save more money.

The Flower Box is offering a gourmet treats and a Sweet Deal. "Depending on the color," said co-owner Diane Belcher, shoppers get 20 to 40 percent off. The store will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oh, purple is the lucky color.

Next door at Boners, Jim Hengy is offering a free $12 T-shirt with the purchase of any other T-shirt, priced from $12 to $31.

And at Linda's Books, Linda Tucker is $1.50 off any $10 purchase.

More information and a schedule of events for the four-week Heartland Holiday Festival: www.HeartlandHolidayFest.com