Shopping 'Small' Paying Off Big for Customers, Businesses in McKinney - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Shopping 'Small' Paying Off Big for Customers, Businesses in McKinney

Nationwide, Black Friday generated $18 billion in sales

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shopping 'Small' Paying Off Big in McKinney

    Small Business Saturday was a success for consumers and retailers alike in McKinney's downtown square. Business owners say the sense of community is one of the reasons the area has thrived. (Published Monday, Nov. 26, 2018)

    When it comes to tea, there's just something different about buying in person.

    "You can actually open a jar, smell the teas, smell the spices and you get a real sense for the product," said Mark Gerber, owner of Spice & Tea Merchants in Downtown McKinney.

    When Gerber decided to open McKinney Square's newest shop two days before Thanksgiving, he knew he was taking a chance. But, like many before him, he saw opportunity.

    "It's a challenge and it's a risk. You don't know what will work," he said.

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    So far, it's paying off.

    "(Black) Friday was crazy. All day long, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., it was nonstop and Saturday was even crazier," Gerber said.

    The city's Christmas celebration helped bring the crowds out, but the storefronts drew them inside.

    "It was great. It was even better than last year," said Dorie Helsley, owner of Cotton Hearts.

    "Stores that are mass produced, you know like Urban Outfitters or something like that, it's always the same thing, but when you come here, there's something different every time," shopper Shannan Johnson said.

    It's the out of the big box feel that's kept Helsley in business for 24 years and counting.

    "I like being around people," she said to a customer.

    Helsley said she believed people keep coming because the historic square has something unique to offer. Not just the products, but the "charming" atmosphere. It's a place where families can stroll and look for those special gifts.

    "A lot of them have locally produced things or they have things from artists in the area," Johnson said.

    Visitors may also find a feeling of community. In McKinney Square, retailers work together.

    "We send people to each other. If someone comes in looking for black pants and I don't have them, I'll send them down the street," Helsley said.

    It's a friendly support system that a computer can't easily replace.

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    "I understand buying some things online, but we've got to support our small businesses or we'll never be able to touch and feel stuff," she said.

    Across the country 104 million customers took part in Small Business Saturday, which set a new record by raking in nearly $18 billion in sales, according to its sponsor, American Express.

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