Small Business Saturday attracts shoppers to downtown Lawrence

Shoppers check out the deals Saturday at downtown stores. Merchants said Small Business Saturday brought good numbers to their shops.

University of Kansas alumna Peggy Weeks lives in Overland Park now, but she came back to downtown Lawrence this weekend for Small Business Saturday. And for good reason, she said.

“The reason we are here is the many local and unique shops and restaurants,” Weeks said. “There’s really nothing like it.”

The owners of those unique local shops were looking to greet a lot of hometown and destination shoppers for Small Business Saturday, said Sally Zogry, of Downtown Lawrence Inc.

“Small Business Saturday is a big deal,” she said. “We promote it like crazy. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all big. We put them on our web site,, so people will know what the deals are.”

The “shop local” campaign is a focus on the web site, but Downtown Lawrence Inc. also is aware downtown’s reach extends beyond Lawrence’s city limits, Zogry said.

“This is a shopping destination,” she said. “We do get people from Topeka and the Kansas City area. This is a shopping and dining destination for KU alumni, parents of KU students and their families.”

Downtown sidewalks weren’t choked as during the annual sidewalk sale in the summer, but traffic was steady even with the football game between KU and K-State in Manhattan competing for residents’ attention.

But there was no such competition at housewares store Delaney & Loew, 732 Massachusetts St., where owners Brad and Katie Moore had the game on a flat-screen TV for their patrons. Katie Moore said she saw evidence Downtown Lawrence’s promotion of Small Business Saturday was effective.

“We’ve been very busy,” she said. “The ‘shop local’ thing has been very big this year. I’ve seen a lot of people with the ‘shop local’ bags, not only in our store but walking around downtown.”

About a half block to the north, a busy store put a smile on Shauna Swanson’s face. The “decision maker” of the family-owned Hobbs Inc. said it pleased her to see a steady stream of customers passing through and enjoying the store’s seasonal decorations, this year inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The store at 700 Massachusetts St. has been open for 18 years and has put up holiday decorations each year, Swanson said.?

“It’s really gratifying to see people having a good time and enjoying the Grinch theme, she said. “That’s what it is all about. We appreciate being a staple of downtown.”

Lora Wiley, owner of Au Marché European Market, 931 Massachusetts St., said busy Saturdays would be the norm through Christmas.

“We get people every Saturday, but we got more today,” she said. “As Christmas gets closer we’ll get even busier, but it’s a pretty good day.”

Downtown promotional events will continue next weekend with Winter Wonderland Weekend, which includes the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade on Dec. 3.