Florence encouraged to shop, dine local on Small Business Saturday

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) — As the holiday shopping season kicks in, yet another annual tradition must adapt to COVID.

Black Friday-goers Jimmy and Denise Jacobs said the infamous shopping day looked different than years prior.

“Look at our face,” Jimmy Jacobs said, gesturing to the mask on his face.

The pair was shopping for mainly electronics when we caught them at the Magnolia Mall in Florence.

“It’s not a lot of people,” Denise said.

But many shoppers had filed into the mall by about noon, some standing in lines to get into certain stores.

As Black Friday comes to a close though, the spotlight shifts from the big box stores to local ones on Small Business Saturday.

“We’re prayerful that we’ll have a banner day because last year I have to say we had a banner day,” said Charlene G. Lowery, operations manager and buyer at the MiLadies 182.

The boutique has called Downtown Florence home for six years, but this one has been challenging.

“We’ve had to shut down for a while, we have cut hours,” Lowery said. “We were hoping for a banner year. And because of COVID you know we’re suffering like everyone else. So we do invite people just to come in take a look around.”

Lowery said the boutique is having major sales Friday and Saturday and has a lot to showcase. The boutique offers many brands like Joseph Ribkoff and Frank Lyman.

Meanwhile, Small Business Saturday marks just the beginning for Chocobella, a new chocolate and gelato boutique coming to Dargan Street.

The store is having its grand opening Saturday.

“We figured what better day than Small Business Saturday to showcase what we’ve been working on,” said Ranny Starnes, a coowner of the store.

The gelato and elaborately painted Belgian chocolates are all made in-house. Starnes previously learned about chocolate making while working at Dolce Vita, also downtown. Now she wants to take it to the next level.

She said gelato will be a new addition to downtown.

“I’ve worked in downtown for about four years and that’s been a lot of the buzz, is we really need gelato,” Starnes said. “We really need something where people can come downtown- it’ll be like a destination. Come and pick up gelato, walk through downtown… We’re excited.”

Chocobella opens at noon Saturday.

Here are the rest of the deals and promotions going on downtown for Small Business Saturday.

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