Downtown Lynchburg businesses prepare for Small Business Saturday

Downtown officials create online website to help shoppers

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Downtown Lynchburg has the largest concentration of small businesses in the community. The closing of the Main Street Bridge may make getting to them a little more difficult than usual, but some store owners are not letting that concern them.

"We're not worried about it. We just hope people really find the value in having a community shopping and restaurant experience,” said Stephanie Atkinson, the manager of Live, Trendy or Die, Windblown Apothecary and The Conscious Mercantile stores.

Small Business Saturday is this weekend. Local business owners say they hope it brings in new customers to see the unique products they can't find anywhere else.

"People don't realize it, but we start preparing to bring unique items to the stores for people to really love. You know to have a reason to not online shop. We start that in July and August,” Atkinson said.

The nonprofit Downtown Lynchburg Association is striving to create a vibrant and welcoming experience for locals and visitors. It has developed a website to educate shoppers on the latest deals before the weekend.

"So we host the website, which is our Small Business Saturday website. And it's a way for people to find out where the discounts are, where the things that are happening. So we've gathered that from all the downtown businesses,” said Ashley Kershner, executive director of Downtown Lynchburg. 

Managers admit it's easier to buy your loved ones Christmas gifts online, but they say shopping local gives customers a personal consultant.

"We can run things with you. If you're like, 'I don't know.' You know, we can ask you, 'Hey pull up their Instagram. Let's look at what they like. Let's see what they like. What do you think?' So what we really try hard to do is to become your shopping buddy. That's our job and you can't get that when you shop online or when you buy things over the phone,” Atkinson said. 

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