Small shops think big
Local restaurants and businesses celebrate Small Business Saturday Nov. 26
As the Christmas season begins, one weekend pushes holiday shoppers to help the local businesses in the Lynchburg area.
Small Business Saturday took place in the Lynchburg community Saturday, Nov. 26. Small Business Saturday helps those family-owned business in the area stay open.
It also inspires Christmas shoppers to shop local instead of shopping in larger stores.
According to the Small Business Administration website, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for 54 percent of all sales in the U.S.
The website also says 600,000 franchised small businesses account for 40 percent of retail sales and provide 8 million people with jobs.
The Water Dog, a new oyster bar that opened this past September on Jefferson Street in Lynchburg, is known for its oysters and specialty sandwiches.
The mission of the company is to have the mentality of a water dog, which does not know the difference between work and play.
Their goal is to provide a casual, social environment for the people of Lynchburg.
“I think Lynchburg city is a unicorn,” Owner Dave Henderson said.
“All of downtown is working to revitalize and has done an amazing job. It is on the cusp of something very special, if not already there.”
In addition to oysters and drinks, The Water Dog features shuffleboard and cornhole games, vinyl spin and trivia nights and an 8 by 15-foot screen projector.
The restaurant also hosts various festivals and oyster roasts throughout the year.
“I hope we become a place people like to call home and can be their go-to spot,” Henderson said.
“We just want to have fun and for people to have fun. Life is too short, and that’s why we started this business.”
In Amherst, Virginia, one couple has owned two small businesses since the 1950s.
The businesses, Hill House and Hill Hardware, were started by family members for future relatives to own.
Walter and Sharon Turner encourage everyone to participate on Small Business Saturday to give those businesses a fighting chance.
“Being a small, privately owned business can be a difficult job,” Hill House owner Sharon Turner said.
“Many small businesses like us rely on the Christmas holiday season for a great deal of sales.”
“We want our customers to know that yes, you can get other products like the ones I sell here from Lowe’s and Home Depot, but I also provide those tools as well and (many) more products,” Hill Hardware owner Walter Turner said.
“Our main goal is to provide whatever our customer needs in a quick fashion in order for them to not have to go to those bigger stores.”
When working a small business, owners get to know who their customers are and what they like.
The Turners want their customers to know how much they appreciate their business and what it means to them when you shop there.
“I love getting to meet new customers,” Sharon Turner said.
“In my boutique shop, if something is not there that they want, I ask them what they need and do whatever I can to find that item.
“Being a hardware store can be really fun or really hard,” Walter Turner said.
“We provide your basic set of tools and equipment for our customers, but there is only so much my small business can do when it comes to those larger tools that construction workers and factory workers use. I can repair their equipment, but selling it can be difficult.”
After running two small businesses, the Turners have said they have had great success while operating their business.
They say that their hard work and love for their customers keeps them going.
“When I see a familiar face walk into my store,” Sharon Turner said, “I immediately go up to that person and tell them thank you for coming and seeing us again!” To me, that means the world because it shows me I did something to help that customer when no other business did.”
“At the hardware store, all of my customers are like family,” Walter Turner said.
“They will come in, and just strike up any kind of conversation with me before even needing anything. Seeing them return makes me enjoy the hardware store just as much as they do.”
For more information on small businesses and where they are located, visit buylocallylynchburg.com to find a new place to eat and plan the next Christmas shopping trip.
Robertson is a news reporter. & NULL is a feature reporter.