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Downtown bustles on ‘Small Business’ day

The “Ledford Trio” entertains Saturday outside Verge elite-consignment shop during a downtown Saturday holiday open house. The Ledford family members are, from left, “Raging Guitar” Andrew; mother, “Here’s the Beat Jennifer,” and “Gimmie the Blues Brothers” Daniel.

The “Ledford Trio” entertains Saturday outside Verge elite-consignment shop during a downtown Saturday holiday open house. The Ledford family members are, from left, “Raging Guitar” Andrew; mother, “Here’s the Beat Jennifer,” and “Gimmie the Blues Brothers” Daniel.

ALBANY — Small businesses are sometimes neglected in the rush for “Black Friday” deals at monster stores. Not so in downtown Albany.

Many downtown businesses did well on Black Friday and the community also joined them on “Small Business Saturday.” Ringing up sales Saturday, Verge elite-consignment shop managing partner Jessica Blair sounded pleased.

“Friday was fantastic. It was our best day ever,” Blair said. “People are turning out today too to support local small businesses.”

“Small Business Saturday” is a national campaign in which people pledge to shop small in support of their community businesses. Although major financial companies such as American Express support the small business effort, it is also community based.

Blair said that people should shop at locally-owned businesses because, among other reasons such as supporting the local economy, it is more personal.

“You get to know your neighbors in their businesses,” Blair said. “And business owners get to know their customers.”

On Saturday, downtown businesses on North Washington Street and Broad Avenue such as Verge, My Sisters Place Boutique, Our Daily Bread Bakery and Cafe set out refreshments to welcome people to the beginning of a hoped-for thriving downtown.

“We had our first day open Friday selling refurbished and new furniture, home decor and jewelry. We had a long line of customers,” Missy Whitney said. “We have spaces for vendors and they did well, too.”

Shopping with her family, Melissa Strother said she thought a resurgence of downtown shopping was just the ticket for the city.

“This is a great remedy for the city. We need to shop local,” Strother said. “It gives the downtown a heartbeat.”

Brothers Andrew and Daniel on guitars and mother Jennifer on percussion, the Ledford Trio” carried the Saturday’s shopping beat outside Verge.

They sang:

“Jingle bells, Jingle bells;

“Jingle all the way;

“Oh, what fun it is to jam;

“In downtown Albany!”

The optimism extended a couple blocks over to 111 S. Jackson St., where Patrick Jenkins said he hoped downtown shopping would attract people to his 7-month-old store, Global Essence.

“Shopping locally would let people see the handmade wood carvings from the Philippines I have,” Jenkins said. “I have herbal soaps and lotions and things imported from India, Morocco and the world.”

Stepping up for more than local shopping, Donna Driskell used Saturday to help local charitable groups at her Booters Sports Bar & Grill. Dawson band “Highway 55” played at the bar while a group, Kids of the 70s, collected unwrapped Toys for Tots and the Moving Mountains Charity Inc. group collected for the less fortunate.

“Everyone can have a good time,” Driskell said, “and do some good, too.”