POMEROY, Ohio — A picturesque fall day greeted shoppers to the 19th annual Pomeroy Merchants Open House on Monday.
Visitors strolled through the streets of Pomeroy and perused the numerous shops with the Ohio River and brightly colored autumn hills of West Virginia as a background.
This historic village has become a destination for shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind gifts and clothing, and home décor. Pomeroy Merchant President and Front Paige Outfitters owner Paige Cleek said everything came together to make the day a good one for merchants and shoppers alike.
“It was a perfect day in so many ways,” Cleek said. “I think I speak for all the merchants in saying this was a phenomenal day for all of us. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and there were even more shoppers than anticipated.”
Cleek said people were waiting in line when the shops opened at 9 a.m. on Friday.
“We are already full into the Christmas season; people seem to be shopping early this year,” Cleek said. “We were busy from beginning to end. It was unbelievable, people were waiting in line for stores to open, and they were there until after closing. I still had people in my store after I closed at 9 p.m.”
She said it was also good to see “out of towners” — a sign that the shops are bringing in new customers.
“This town has a lot to offer,” she said. “We are friendly with a large variety of quality merchandise, we have excellent local craftmanship, recognizable brands, and also buy from smaller business, so there are items you might not have seen before, all in this small river town. We love our local customers, but we also want Pomeroy to be a destination point for people from out of town, a place where people want to make the trip to come and shop, have lunch or a cup of coffee, meet with friends, and make new ones.”
When asked if the current supply chain issues have been a problem, Cleek shared that there have been some concerns, but mostly with the bigger brands.
“We are all suffering a bit with supplies, but because we are small business owners, we can shift gears,” she said. “Speaking for myself, if I can’t get what I ordered from one place, I can find a small resource business to fill in the gap for things we are not getting. Also, because we purchase a lot of things from smaller accounts, they are able to supply us more easily than the bigger brands. It gives me an opportunity to look at alternatives, to reach out to other small businesses, where I often find similar items or ones I might have otherwise overlooked.”
While reflecting on a successful Open House, merchants are restocking in preparation for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27. The weekend will be filled with activities, including a Christmas parade.
Pomeroy Merchants would like to ask shoppers to continue to “shop local”, and Cleek added, “after spending money at the big box stores on Black Friday, remember to support your local small businesses by shopping with us the next day.”
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.