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New Castle Shops Provide Black Friday Alternatives

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. – While many malls and businesses around Westchester expect to see mile-long lines of shoppers searching for the best sales on Black Friday, Chappaqua and Millwood merchants are hoping to attract holiday shoppers in other ways.

"I certainly hope people are here on Friday, but we can’t offer the specials that the big guys offer, so it’s a little bit more difficult," said Eve Spence, co-owner of Auntie Penny on King Street. "We’ll just continue offering free wrapping and personalized shopping and what we do best. If no one wants to face the insanity at Target, we’re here for them."

While Aurora owner Dawn Greenberg has only had her King Street store for five months, she believes residents prefer shopping small and there is a reason for the lack of big businesses in Chappaqua.

"Something tells me there’s not a lot of Walmart shoppers in Chappaqua, so hopefully people will come here instead," said Greenberg. "I know a lot of the college kids are home next weekend, and they tend to be good shoppers. We’re just kinda skirting along between Christmas and Hanukkah and just trying to have something for everybody."

Along with offering personalized service, many storefronts in New Castle will also take part in Small Business Saturday as another Black Friday alternative. The event, which was started by American Express in 2010, offers residents a one-time $25 credit if they shop locally on Nov. 26.

American Express card users can register on the event's Facebook page for the credit, which kicks in when a purchase of $25 or more is made at a small business. To find out what stores are participating in the event, enter zip codes for Chappaqua - 10514 - or Millwood - 10546 - into the search bar on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page.

“We’re gonna try and do everything we can for Small Business Saturday,” said Greenberg. “We’re trying to do our own little giveaways and whatever that we can.”

Town Supervisor Barbara Gerrard believes the shopping season is coming at a perfect time for New Castle. According to Gerrard, New Castle storefronts have the lowest vacancy rate in 3 years. Out of 141 storefronts between Chappaqua and Millwood, eight are currently vacant. Another positive for local businesses is the Route 120 bridge construction, which wrapped up for the winter on Nov. 23.

“This is a reminder that our local merchants play an essential role in our community,” said Gerrard at a recent town board meeting. “After struggling through the worst economy in over 70 years, and the near-constant disruption of traffic flow due to the construction of the bridge, the merchants are looking forward to a bright, and hopefully successful, holiday.”

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