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Dec 8, 2009 11:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton retailers rally together for Christmas shopping

Editor's Note: For the entire story on the Shop Southampton movement, pick up the Thursday, December 10, issue of The Southampton Press-Eastern Edition, on newsstands Wednesday evening.
Dec 8, 2009 11:34 AM

A group of Southampton merchants wants to remind area residents that holiday shopping does not have to be plagued with long lines at big-box stores, traffic jams, and tiffs with other shoppers over the last Tickle-Me-Elmo in the bargain bin.

Rather, shop owners in Southampton Village are urging people to buy presents locally with a campaign entitled “Shop Southampton, It’s a Wonderful Village...” The campaign began on Black Friday and will continue through Christmas, explained Jill Lynn Brody, who helped organize it.

“We want the local community to shop in Southampton,” Ms. Brody said. “Every store here has something for everyone.”

The list of the 21 retail stores participating in “Shop Southampton” proves Ms. Brody’s point. Her own store, Jill Lynn & Co. on Jobs Lane, features fine, hand-crafted jewelry. Stevenson’s Toys and Games, next door to Ms. Brody’s shop, has a wide array of toys, and Ms. Brody’s brothers’ store, Crescendo Design on Main Street, has many home theatre systems. Other stores participating include Hatchlings, a children’s clothing store, Old Town Crossing, a luxury antiques store and interior design firm, and Hildreth’s Home Goods, all located on Main Street, and Twist, a women’s and tween clothing store, and Topiare, a floral boutique, both located on Jobs Lane.

“There’s so much variety,” Ms. Brody said.

She said that one of the main objectives for “Shop Southampton” is to have all of the retailers decorate the exterior of the stores with white lights for the holidays. She also said store owners were encouraged to make peace wreaths, a key element of the campaign.

The peace wreaths are peace sign-shaped and are a way for each shop to express itself, Ms. Brody explained, adding that they show that Southampton Village is at peace and they give the village a unified feel.

Ms. Brody’s peace wreath sparkles with huge, plastic, multi-colored gemstones. Old Town Crossing has a glitzy silver peace wreath hanging in its front window made by the store’s general manager, Sean Bruns, said the owner, Judy Hadlock.

Polly Stevenson said that the theme for her wreath centers on old fashioned toys—Silly Putty, a Wooly Willy, a Kewpie doll and View-Master disks are affixed to the metal peace sign frame hanging in her shop’s window.

At Hatchlings on Main Street, a huge wreath wrapped in twigs, with a birds nest and blue robin’s eggs in the center greets customers. The shop’s owner, Cristina Peffer, noted that she her friend, florist Diane Charkow, created it.

In addition to the peace wreaths, “Shop Southampton” is also encouraging shop owners to stay open until around 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Ms. Brody said.

“It makes it more convenient for people who work during the day,” she explained.

Some stores are also offering shopping incentives, such as sales and bounce-back coupons, which are given to customers at check out and allow them to receive a certain amount off their next purchase.

Twist distributed that type of coupon on Black Friday, said owner Valerie Revere, and is also offering 25-percent off on full-price dresses, sweaters, denim and Lacoste throughout the month.

As part of the campaign, some shops are offering their customers a complimentary hot apple cider, cocoa, or coffee on the weekends, Ms. Brody noted. Besim Cukaj, who owns Besim’s Fine Cigars on Jobs Lane, said that he served free coffee and tea holiday weekend.

Millie Fellingham, the executive director of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce and the owner of Fellingham’s on Cameron Street in Southampton, said that certain shop owners’ youthful exuberance is making “Shop Southampton” a success.

“This is the first time in 20 years that the energy level from the retailers has been this phenomenal,” Ms. Fellingham said. “It’s probably the best union that I’ve ever had from the retailers.”

Ms. Stevenson agreed with Ms. Fellingham’s assessment of the new crop of Southampton store owners.

“They’re a breath of fresh air,” Ms. Stevenson said.

Ms. Fellingham explained that “Shop Southampton” is officially a chamber campaign and that the campaign is a branch of the organization. She also felt the economic downturn has led the shop owners to try to drum up more customers this holiday season.

“The economy pulled us altogether to do something,” Ms. Fellingham said.

Ms. Peffer at Hatchlings shared Ms. Fellingham’s sentiment.

“I felt that this was the year to put extra sparkle in everything,” Ms. Peffer said.

Ms. Brody explained that she is reaching out to the online community as well, and encouraging Facebook.com users to shop in the village through a “Shop Southampton” fan page. Approximately 170 people are fans of campaign, which alerts users which stores are having sales, and other village happenings, such as Sunday’s Fire Truck Parade of Lights and Christmas tree lighting.

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My best wishes to all of the Southampton merchants for a safe and very prosperous season.

It is the talented and dedicated private merchants of Southampton Village that helps make our town a world-class destination.

Thanks to SH Press for the article.
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Dec 8, 09 2:05 PM
Thank you
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 09 12:24 PM
I believe in supporting local business and try to as much as possible. But when 1/2 of the stores in the village of Southampton don't open before 11am on a Saturday in December close to Christmas, one can understand why people end up either shopping on the internet, the outlets, or at the bigger national stores.
By oooohhhhhh (6), hampton bays on Dec 8, 09 4:53 PM
With $400 sweaters, $200 shirts, $800 end tables and $60 bath towels, who can afford to shop in our village?
By interestedtaxpayer (21), southampton on Dec 9, 09 8:21 AM
You would be very surprised at the deals you could get in the Village! All you have to do is ask. Being a SH business owner I would be very surprised if you came to the village this weekend that you would walk away without getting a good deal.
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 09 12:23 PM
I shop at local business's whenever possible.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Dec 9, 09 10:01 AM
Thank you from a SH Business Owner
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 09 11:55 AM
I think the biggest mistake thats being made in this town is everyones trying to cater to the rich and not the everyday person. The rich dont shop here trust me and those that do are looking for a deal not a $400 sweater. They need to turn this town into a normal shopping town and have things such as Abercrombie, American Egale, Old navy, Gap things like that that people reconize and would be more inclined to come and shop at for themselves and there children. Many teenagers dont want to wear the ...more
By SESMOMOF2 (21), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 11, 09 7:56 AM
The answer is not to turn the town into riverhead by populating it with strip mall franchises. The town should force landlords to rent empty spaces at reasonable rates to small business owners and place a moratorium on real estate office, brokerage firms and banks.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Dec 15, 09 11:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Many of the shops in the Village offer better deals, especially during this time of year so they can move inventory before the true heart of the winter sets in. Also the Abercrombie's, American Eagles, and any of those other "Mall" stores take away from the spirit of shopping in a Mom & Pop shop, where usually customer service is more personal and you can actually get to know the person behind the counter instead of some kid that's more worried about texting or talking on their cell phone. BTW ...more
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 09 12:16 PM
Sop locally - yeah right! First off, even with a full time job and overtime, I would never think of buying a $400 sweater. I would rather go to Riverhead shopping, especially Walmart. Local shops are over priced and the people in my experience have been rude. They look you up and down and if your aren't a size 4 snub you. Maybe they need to put a Walmart in Southampton, then I would shop locally.
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Dec 13, 09 8:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Enjoy Walmart! In Riverhead, where it belongs. Think about it if you move there you will be that much closer.
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 09 12:01 PM