Customer service is key, Alle-Kiski small business owners say
By Liz Hayes
Published: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In a store full of art from days gone by, Kensington Court Antique Boutique's owner Regis Rush said his business offers a particularly sought-after lost art: customer service.
That's why, Rush said, customers continue to patronize his and other small businesses in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
And that's part of the reason he and other local entrepreneurs said sales were good on Saturday, a day on which holiday shoppers are especially encouraged to patronize small businesses over big-box retailers.
“We've been jamming,” Rush said of the New Kensington shop he and partner Jay Ritter opened along Barnes Street two years ago.
Jewelry and gifts were hot commodities on Saturday, but Rush said the holiday shopping season begins for them in early November when they host an open house.
He said furniture sales also were strong before Thanksgiving, likely because of people preparing for holiday visitors.
Aside from offerings of 37 antique dealers, Rush said customer service ranging from free delivery to helping people carry packages to their cars are an attraction at Kensington Court. As another free service, Rush had a variety of local businesses and activities to recommend to patrons.
Laurie Stephens, new owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, said her first holiday shopping season at the 22-year-old store is going well.
“We had people at the door at 10 a.m. when we opened,” Stephens said, and several patrons were browsing when a reporter visited less than an hour before closing time.
“It has been like a party all day,” Stephens said. “When your customers are your friends, and you're sharing what you love, it is invigorating.”
Stephens credited previous owners Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman for building up a base of customers that not only travels to get to the Allegheny River Boulevard store, but also orders online from all over the country.
Holiday orders placed through the store's website were waiting for Stephens when she came in on Friday — giving her a jump on the traditional Internet shopping day of the Monday following Thanksgiving.
“It's the best of both worlds,” Stephens said.
Business at Seita Diamond Jewelers in Tarentum also was brisk on Saturday, according to owner Curt Marino.
He said diamonds and Pandora charm bracelets were in demand.
Marino said this is Seita's best year so far for participation in Small Business Saturday, an initiative started by credit-card company American Express three years ago.
“We've continued to grow,” Marino said, noting the jewelry store's East Sixth Avenue location will expand substantially early next year. “We're just so blessed.”
Stephens said she also plans to renovate the bookstore after the holidays, and Rush has new ideas he'd like to incorporate at Kensington Court.
Although the small businesses didn't open for crazy hours during or after Thanksgiving, they did offer their share of sales and promotions.
“No matter how much money they have, people still want a bargain,” Rush said.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- Suspect in East Liberty slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- Qualifications of Peduto nominee for building inspection chief come up short
- New Pirates pitcher Eppley brings special delivery to team’s staff
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends
- Butler GOP chairman to step down.