Alle-Kiski Valley shoppers turn out to support small businesses as Christmas season begins
The sounds of Christmas music and the sights of holiday trimmings abound at the Hole in the Wall on Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell.
The store was filled with shoppers on Small Business Saturday, browsing the items for sale at one of the businesses in the Alle-Kiski Valley that depend on local support.
Owner Christine Dymkoski said days like Saturday are important to her and other small businesses trying to make a go of it against corporate chains and the abundance of goods that can be bought with the click of a mouse or a finger swipe on a smartphone.
“It’s been fantastic. Since we opened it’s been nonstop,” Dymkoski said of the foot traffic on Saturday. The store, which abounds with Christmas merchandise and collectibles, was filled with customers. “I have as much business this day as I have on my open house.”
Colleen Dobier of Lower Burrell was among them.
“This is my favorite store. I’ve been coming here for years,” Dobier said. “It’s nice to support small businesses. It keeps the city growing; it keeps storefronts intact.”
Hole in the Wall was just one of the businesses benefiting from Small Business Saturday, a promotion started a decade ago by American Express that’s grown to become a tradition for some families.
They include the clan led by Robin Rearick of Apollo.
She, her daughter Nadine Shaffer, Nadine’s twin daughters Elizabeth and Madeline, all of Avonmore, and Nadine’s sister, Judy Erwin of Chillicothe, Ohio, spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving shopping at places in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
They buy items in Apollo, Leechburg, Saltsburg and Vandergrift each year — trying to buy something at each store they visit, Shaffer said.
In Leechburg, they were among the people who went from place to place on Market Street.
The borough coincides its holiday kickoff festivities with Small Business Saturday to provide an additional boost to businesses in town, according to John Foster, assistant chief of the borough’s volunteer fire department. He was collecting for a holiday gift program for the needy and helping to fill Market Street with Christmas music.
“The holiday season is important because we’re small,” said Vicki Lockard, owner of Market Street Antiques and Collectibles. “We have a lot of unique gifts from all eras. It’s one of the best days of the year.”
Judy Provia, owner of La Dee Dah a few doors down agrees.
She sells everything from jewelry to wood planes to toy monsters, the latter being her favorite, Provia said.
Having people support small businesses on a specific day is important because it helps keep people aware that places outside of chain stores exist, Provia said.
“We’re still here,” Provia said, “despite the internet.”
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .