State Leaders, Store Owners Hopeful People Support Small Business Saturday

It’s an important day during a crucial time for shops, many of which are struggling during the pandemic.

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As holiday shopping takes off, people looked for gifts from jewelry to toys in Middletown.

“I just want to support the small business. It’s very important these guys stay open,” said Marc Riccio of Madison.

“I do online anyway some, not as much. We like going out to the stores,” said Cathy Riccio of Madison.

A big question remains about how this season will unfold.

At Malloves Jewelers, owner Marc Levin is optimistic.

“In our industry, it comes down to basically the last five days. This year, we’re seeing people buy a little earlier because with the pandemic they don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Levin.

Normally each year this is a busy night in Middletown as Holiday on Main Street kicks off but it looked a little different this time with a virtual tree lighting and no big crowd.

“Because of what this community is, we are going to celebrate in the same spirit as we have in years past,” said Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim.

At Amato’s Toy & Hobby, owner Diane Gervais said they’re feeling good and believe the pandemic has people looking to shop in smaller, less crowded stores.

For those still with concerns, Amato’s has expanded options for customers from being able to browse virtually to after-hour appointments.

“It’s obviously going to be a challenging season. But I think people still want to make Christmas happen for their families and loved ones,” said Gervais.

Holiday on Main continues for the rest of the season.

This Saturday includes snacks, a scavenger hunt and pictures with Santa following COVID-related rules.

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