Think big, shop small today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 30, 2013

Amy Parrish, of Destin, Fla., smiles at a find Friday at Ansley Place in Andalusia.

Amy Parrish, of Destin, Fla., smiles at a find Friday at Ansley Place in Andalusia.

While Black Friday’s nationwide rush to big box retail stores managed to inspire the coining of the term “brawlmart,” today’s Small Business Saturday is expected to be much more relaxed and family friendly.

In Andalusia, local business owners are hoping for another rush before holiday shopping commences.

“It’s been good today,” Mike Ward, owner of Ward & Co., said Friday. “We’ve had customers coming in waves all morning. Most of them came in later in the morning after they were finished at Walmart and Goody’s.”

Ward said he is keeping his Black Friday sales items marked down today in order to accommodate shoppers taking advantage of Small Business Saturday.

“Our big sales will continue,” Ward said. “We’ll have the same things on sale. Our Polo shirts and Southern Tide shirts will still be on sale. We’re having a sale on our woven shirts.”

Ward said his store will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., adding he expects to see shoppers coming in to get ready for today’s Iron Bowl match up between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers.

“We sell a lot of Tuskwear,” Ward said. “And we will probably sell a lot of sunglasses. We have Costa’s and people tend to want those. It’s getting a little colder, so our Northface jackets do well, too.”

Ward said he will stay open throughout today’s game, so shoppers who aren’t football fans will likely have the store to themselves between 2:30 and 6 p.m.

Just down the road at Ansley Place, owner Louisa Baker said her store has also extended its sales through today’s Small Business Saturday event.

“We have 20 percent off a lot of things this weekend, “ Baker said.

Ansley Place’s sale includes Vera Bradley products, as well as a special wristlet special – buy one, get the second for half price.

Janet Bills, a customer taking advantage of the Black Friday sales, said she and her daughter, Anna, have made the trip to Andalusia to shop at Ansley Place for seven years.

“We live in Florida, but we have a place in Gantt,” Bills said. “We’ve been coming here almost every year.”

Danna Smith, an Andalusia resident, said she shops at Ansley Place because of the friendly service and great selection, but added that she prefers to do as much of her business as possible at locally owned stores.

“This a grand store,” Smith said of Ansley Place. “They have everything you could want.”

Smith’s daughter, Amy Parrish, lives in Destin, Fla., but said she and her daughter Bailey, a junior at Niceville (Fla.) High School, also prefer to shop in Andalusia when possible.

“(Ansley Place) is her favorite store to buy clothes in,” Parrish said of her daughter.

So, why do locals make it a point to take advantage of days like Small Business Saturday?

Smith summed it up well.

“We just love Andalusia.”