LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Where retailers once filled every lot near Lexington's Woodland Park, only a few businesses still operate.
"It's definitely been a struggle," said Melanie Williams.
She owns two of the shops in the area, The Black Market Boutique and Story. After two decades, a recession, a pandemic, and more, she's here to stay.
"This neighborhood is very important to me," she said. "I love knowing I'm a staple in the neighborhood. I love that people can walk out their front door and come over and go Christmas shopping."
For Williams, longevity goes hand in hand with change.
"I think in past years I would order what I would call for small businesses 'bulk.' I don't do that now. I order what's on the shelves. I don't have the backstock that I used to, so I don't have the overhead that I used to," explained Williams.
She says customers seem to be changing their habits too.
"I think everybody wants to make sure that the things they're buying they love," said Williams. "They're not just going to buy whatever, and I think when they come here, it feels more special and, in some ways, maybe they buy more now because it has a different feel and a different presentation. I think people enjoy the environment."
A new report from Bankrate anticipates more shoppers will participate in Small Business Saturday than Black Friday this year.
Considering the National Retail Federation believes shoppers will spend $998, on average, for holiday gifts, Small Business Saturday could have a big return.
"Because you're supporting that person, that family, your city," said Williams.
To shop small makes a difference, and business owners are bound to see the person behind the purchase.
"It's cute because my daughter will come into work with me sometimes, she's eight, and she'll say, 'You know them, Mom?' And I say, 'I do, as people that have supported me and shopped here for years.'"
To Williams, they're the people who will keep her business open for another 20 years.
The Black Market Boutique and Story will have additional hours for the holidays, staying open on Sundays. You can find both shops at 516 E High Street in Lexington.