Just before lunchtime on the sunny and cool morning, there were several strollers in pairs and groups on the street. Some were just window shopping, but many were walking into the boutique shops to admire displays of sparkling and cheerful Christmas merchandise and purchasing some of the items.
Although deep discounts are the hallmark of Black Friday elsewhere, they weren’t in evidence here. But that didn’t appear to deter consumers who were there for Canton Street’s ambiance, specialty shopping and cuisine.
At The Chandlery, it wasn’t exactly shoulder to shoulder, but there were enough customers that navigating aisles in the upscale gift shop was sometimes a slow process.
Unique ornaments for holiday trees were among the most popular purchases. Sally Johnson, who with her mother Mary Ann owns and operates the store, paused as she was about to wrap a shiny Father Christmas for a customer.
“Generally, we have a slow start on Black Friday, especially when it’s cold, but we have nice weather today and there have been so many people since we opened this morning that I’ve been surprised by the turnout,” she said. “It’s a solid start for the weekend.”
A few doors down, Ed Shaffer, co-owner of the Painted Monkey, said customers had “come in waves” that morning.
“We get a lot of people who are not going to go to the mall,” he said. “But our biggest day is always the day after Black Friday, which is Small Business Saturday.”
Across the street, the barista and sales help at Roswell Provisions were fully occupied. Owner Cyril Blacha said the small European-style market and cafe had also been open and busy on Thanksgiving.
“There are a lot of people with families in town and they don’t want to spend the whole day at home,” he said. “We were slammed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It was insane. We did numbers in a few hours that we would normally do all day on a Saturday.”
Possibly due to the unseasonably cold weather, hot, specialty coffee drinks and freshly baked pastries made up a hefty share of Thanksgiving sales, Blacha said. “But there were also those who needed something at the last minute, like a loaf of bread.”
Over the long weekend, it was clear that many customers were out-of-towners, he said. “For a lot of people, Roswell has become a destination for the holidays.”