• Owner Kerry Archer opens the box of materials American Express sent to The Curiosity Shop for Small Business Saturday. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR
    Owner Kerry Archer opens the box of materials American Express sent to The Curiosity Shop for Small Business Saturday. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR

SCOUTING AROUND: Holiday shopping starts in Downtown Murphy

   Pinch kicked off the holiday shopping season downtown Thursday night with its Holiday Open House. The store was festively decorated, and customers could try dips and jams and a dipping oil as they shopped for their holiday needs, including Thanksgiving entertaining.
    ”I figured it would be a good opportunity,” co-owner Wayne Peacock said.
    Peacock, who also is president of the Murphy Business Association, said most downtown businesses would be doing specials on Black Friday. They will offer even more discounts and specials Nov. 17, which is known nationwide as Small Business Saturday.
    For example, Serenity Mountain will offer a 10 percent discount on Black Friday, but a 20 percent discount on Small Business Saturday. Kitt Paige, owner of Kitt’s Boutique & Integrative Therapy, plans to have a 20 percent discount on all clothing in the shop both Friday and Saturday.
    “People are looking for deals that weekend, and if small businesses don’t provide deals, they’re going to fight the crowds,” Paige said.
    Heather Posey-Rice of Rumors said the specials – like the store’s usual Black Friday deal of $10 tunics – and giveaways offered at the store this weekend are a way to thank their regular customers.
    “It’s almost a customer appreciation,” Posey-Rice said.
    American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 – when the economy was in a recession – to persuade more people to do their holiday shopping at small businesses.
    “I just think Small Business Saturday gives people the opportunity to see what’s in their town,” Peacock said. “To me, that’s what Small Business Saturday is all about.”
    He added that there’s lot more in downtown Murphy than there was just last year.
    Sandi Stone of Murphy does as much of her holiday shopping as possible at small businesses. She hopes to be able to find time to visit downtown stores this weekend.
    “I like to visit our small businesses to shop,” Stone said while browsing at Pinch. “I’d rather support our small businesses than these big corporations.”
    She said she likes exploring the new shops, like Black & White Market, for unique items and has created food gift baskets with items from Pinch.
    “You never know what you’re going to find,” Stone said.
    The weekend is big for downtown businesses, even though many are offering discounts. Paige said for her business, this weekend brings in sales similar to a festival weekend.
    Kerry Archer, co-owner of The Curiosity Shop bookstore, said last year his store made four times the amount of money than it makes on a normal weekend. His store will offer a 10 percent discount on all merchandise Friday and Saturday.
    One downtown business is bringing more of a mall experience to downtown while allowing people to help others starting Saturday. McNabb Properties will host Kara Crowe Photography at their business so families can get professional photos with Santa as part of their downtown shopping experience. On each private photo session purchased, 18 percent pf the proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cherokee County.
    Becca McNabb said she wanted to encourage people to stay in town and knew that other local Santa photo opportunities, like at Hackney Warehouse, fill up quickly. She also volunteers as a Big Sister and thought it would be a great opportunity to help the organization.
    Appointments must be made at wherencbegins.live/santa-pics and are available Saturday as well as Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week. Additional days may be added if needed.    Families will have complete access to rights of their photos for use on cards or social media.

Shop With a Cop deadline nears
    Last year, the Murphy Police Department was able to bring 62 children to Walmart for their Shop With a Cop program. For this year’s event, applications are available at the police department and each elementary school.
    The deadline for applications is Monday, Dec. 3.
    The police department also is accepting donations for Shop With a Cop. Officers are tentatively planning to take the children shopping Saturday, Dec. 15.
    Donations can be mailed or hand-delivered to the police department at 93 Peachtree St. Checks should be made out to “Cherokee County Shop With A Cop Program.”
    For details, call Police Chief Justin Jacobs at 837-2214, Ext. 12, or email jjacobs@murphypolice.com.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.