Holiday shopping pops up downtown

Published 9:49 pm Monday, December 2, 2019

Shoppers came to North Main Street for the {Re}Stored Pop-Up Shops in downtown Suffolk on Small Business Saturday, where they supported local businesses as they crossed off items on their Christmas lists.

The fifth annual {Re}Stored Pop-Up Shop featured more than 40 different vendors with a wide array of different items in Suffolk’s historic downtown district.

Shoppers enjoyed hot chocolate and coffee provided by downtown’s Pourfavor coffee shop, plus eggnog crepes cooked up by The Pinner House, while they examined wares in downtown storefronts and inside the big tent beside SunTrust bank on North Main Street.

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Windsor resident Kathy Queen was looking for Christmas gifts on Saturday and was impressed by the number of different vendors.

“I didn’t realize it would be this big,” Queen said, adding that the reasonable prices were a “nice surprise,” as well.

Carol Schwartz and her sister, Wendy Myers, had a table in front of the tent by SunTrust bank to raise money for Relay for Life. Schwartz, 58, and Myers, 55, are part of a Relay for Life team with the 1Foot 2Foot Centre for Foot and Ankle Care on North Main Street.

The sisters lost their parents, Jack and Joyce Holland, to cancer within the past five years, and Saturday marked the four-year anniversary of their mother’s death.

All of the proceeds from the repurposed, handmade goods they sold on Saturday went directly to Relay for Life.

“The reason that I do it so my kids don’t have to Relay,” Schwartz said.

The sisters repurposed different items and made them into appealing gifts. They cut up shirts from past Relay for Life events and made them into reusable bags, as well as dog toys. Myers took different small containers and used them to hold tiny succulents.

Schwartz said that the Small Business Saturday event was going “pretty well” despite the light drizzle in the morning, along with the winter chill and overcast skies.

“It’s been good so far,” she said. “It’s good to see all the community coming out supporting everybody.”

Shoppers from the community perused through the different vendors inside the big tent on North Main Street.

Cami Barnes, the owner and baker of JC3 Family Farm, offered up tasty flavors of homemade bread, fudge, cookies and more baked goods with help from her daughter Jolie, 16.

Barnes said that she and her daughter had a “pretty steady stream of customers” in their corner of the tent, including some of their regulars. It was their first year with a space at the annual event.

“I think it’s really good to draw the community together,” Barnes said, “and I was thankful too that it was a free event for us, as local businesses. I would probably do it again.”

There were loads of delicacies on sale to satisfy many appetites, like the jams and soups made by Husky Homemade, which also sold crocheted items.

Zakery Owens, a 10-year-old artist that’s had space in the SPARC Shoppe on North Main Street since September, brought his own neat works.

Zakery’s Creations featured a number of Zakery’s recyclable bag holders that he sewed with different patterns of fabric. He had stuffed animals that he had shaped like dinosaurs, with patterns that included the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman.

The young artist learned how to sew from his great-grandmother, Betty Harris, whom he calls “Granny,” Zakery’s grandmother, Deborah Hewett, said at his booth on Saturday.

He first started doing his recyclable bag holders as gifts for his teachers and family, and his creativity brought him to Small Business Saturday.

“He’s 10 years old (and) loves to do this in his spare time,” Hewett said. “Him and his Granny get in the kitchen and set it all up. She’s taught him how to do quite a few things.”

The SPARC Shoppe, Cecelia’s Boutique and Gifts and other businesses on North Main Street drew customers during the Saturday event.

Deanna Holt, economic development manager for the Suffolk Department of Economic Development, thanked all of the shoppers who came out to support local businesses on Saturday.

“Economic Development would like to thank everyone that came out Saturday to support our local retailers and restaurants,” Holt wrote in an email.  “With over 40 vendors present, we hope shoppers found the unique gifts they were looking for.”

Cecelia Strickland, the owner of Cecelia’s Boutique and Gifts, said she was happy to see everyone come out to support small local businesses like hers, and that she wants shoppers to know that Suffolk’s small business community has a lot to offer shoppers.

“You don’t need to drive 50 to 100 miles. We have it right here,” she said.