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Village Center Shops Ready-and-Waiting for Black Friday Crowds

Merchants are hoping strong sales will help make up for the days they were without power during "superstorm" Sandy.

Several shop owners at the Stony Brook Village Center agree: they'll need a healthy crowd on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to not only anchor their holiday season as usual, but also to make up for lost business during the days the village center had no power following "superstorm" Sandy.

Cottontails owner Kathy Pagano is predicting just that. She said the village center will likely see shoppers who aren't interested in standing in lines at 3 a.m. to shop for gifts for their loved ones. At the village center, she said, people will find a calmer shopping experience.

"I think we’ll have a very nice crowd, especially in light of all the stress people have been under," she said. "I think we’ll have a great weekend between Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. People are tired and stressed out and they don’t want to deal with the craziness."

There will be a little "crazy" happening, though. A festival is planned for the village center that day, with holiday carolers, wine tastings and refreshments, a petting zoo and a jester for the kids, and more.

Angela D'Aguanno, co-owner of Rumpelstiltskin Yarns, said she is looking forward to the festival, saying the village center's management is extremely supportive of the businesses there.

"They do everything in their power to make sure people are aware of the village center here," she said. "They’re 100 percent behind us. It’s like a big family around here. They want to make sure everyone is successful."

D'Aguanno said the store is still recovering from the loss of power during Hurricane Sandy – and several rough business days following the day the power came back on.

"For people who couldn’t come that week, it was like they were hungry for yarn," she said. "It’s something you have to replenish on a regular basis. ... I’ve had people who have come in and made up for the loss already, so we expect more of the same. People are still replenishing what they went through for their projects."

For Phyllis Martinez, owner of The Writing Place, the story is much the same. "I think the hurricane set everybody back," she said. "We need to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and let’s get going. ... We’re really hoping that this is a day that everybody feels good and renewed and starts coming out and shopping."

Mom-and-pop shops are really counting on the business, Martinez said, especially since they are the ones who give back to the community.

"The big box stores don’t do it. The internet doesn’t contribute," she said. "We constantly give whatever we can do. We employ the local people, we live in the community."

Many stores in the village center will launch special holiday hours and sales starting Black Friday. Vincent D'Aguanno will be demonstrating yarn spinning in the window of his store; Martinez said there are plenty of gifts in the under-$25 range at her store; and Pagano is putting all her holiday merchandise on sale at 30 percent off.

"It would be great if people support the village because we lost about 10 days," Pagano said. "It’s not like it was February. It’s October and November, when we are the busiest. Support your local business and your local villages because they were impacted during the busiest time of year."

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