Hollydays event offers savings, open houses

By James Bartley

Black Friday came early for local shoppers during downtown DeKalb’s weekend Hollydays.

Hollydays was hosted by the National Bank & Trust Company and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. The event featured holiday sales and open houses for downtown businesses.

Stores were decked out in holiday decorations for the occasion and offered homemade cookies, coffee, apple cider and gift bags.

Christie Carter, owner of Carter’s Cottage Interiors, 209 E. Lincoln Highway, thinks the holiday season is a time to connect with DeKalb shoppers and gain exposure for small businesses.

“It’s just a great time to reach out into our local community and hopefully draw them in and show them what a great shopping destination DeKalb is,” Carter said.

Sandy Spier, owner of Poppy Seed Primitives, 223 E. Lincoln Highway, recently moved her business to downtown DeKalb from Genoa and said Hollydays offered an opportunity to let people know about the shop.

The weekend gave shoppers an opportunity to take advantage of holiday sales without the Black Friday crowds. It also gave DeKalb’s small businesses a chance to highlight their merchandise and special sales.

“This is an opportunity for small stores, such as myself, to reach more customers because on Black Friday everybody wants to go to the big-box stores and shop with their special sales, and we just can’t compete with that, so this is our opportunity,” Carter said.

Spier said bigger stores have advantages with Black Friday sales, but thinks small businesses also have an edge over big stores.

“I think you can find unique items here in downtown DeKalb that you can’t find at the big-box retailers, so that’s why it’s smart to shop small,” Spier said.

Although Hollydays did help downtown businesses gain exposure and sell more goods, the event was also held to share the holiday spirit with the community.

Joyce Waters, owner of My Favorite Things, 249 E. Lincoln Highway, has been a small business owner for almost 17 years and said despite the extra work, she always enjoys doing special events for the holidays.

“We’ve always done a big open house for Christmas,” Waters said. “It’s just fun.”