LAWRENCE (CBS) — The holiday shopping season continued this weekend with a day aimed at promoting local stores. Small business Saturday is even more significant in Merrimack Valley where recovery efforts after September’s natural gas explosions and fires are still ongoing.
In Lawrence, Lifestyles Furniture has plenty of dressers, mattresses, beds, and anything else you might need. But owner David Bider says his store has something else too: “I think the edge that a small business has over a big box store is the level of service and knowing the customers.”
He has been in business for 40 years.
The chaos of the gas explosions did a number on the local economy.
“We lost a lot of business based on what has happened over the last two months,” says Bider. Heat in his store was only fully restored on Wednesday.
“I think it’s going to take people time to get back on their feet, you know?” He continued. “We’re making a delivery right now of somebody who just got back to their house yesterday and they want to get a new sofa.”
Just up the road in Andover, shoppers browsed downtown storefronts, another step in that town’s recovery. According to the town, 91 percent of Andover businesses have their gas service restored.
“But I think it’s even brought a silver lining back to Andover. People realize that they have to shop local to support their local — these are their neighbors that are owning these businesses,” said one woman.
Bider believes everyone will be even stronger for next year’s small business Saturday. “I think a community like Lawrence will able to concentrate more on something like that an event like [small business Saturday].”