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Foot traffic light to moderate at shops in downtown Hagerstown

November 25, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

Although Black Friday is considered the busiest shopping day of the year, foot traffic was light to moderate at many of the shops in downtown Hagerstown.

Jenni Jones, co-manager of Potomac Bead Co. on West Washington Street, said eight customers had visited the shop by noon Friday, two hours after it opened at 10 a.m.

That number of customers might seem low, but it was a big improvement over previous Black Fridays, Jones said.

"We've had a pretty nice flow — not real busy, though" Jones said. "On some Black Fridays we've been so slow that we've had eight to 12 (customers) all day." Hagerstown residents Rick Sines, 32, and Gary Miller, 55, said they were disappointed with the selection downtown.

"I wish there were more shops," Sines said. "I'm just out looking for deals .... Whatever catches my eye for friends or family."

To at least one shop owner, business was nonexistent.

"Unfortunately, we have had no customers," said Manny Shaool, owner of Manny's Oriental Rugs & Gallery Outlet on West Washington Street. "All these stores are moving out ... It's making people less interested in downtown Hagerstown."

Shaool said he moved his rug business about a month ago from Dual Highway to a building he already owned at 72-74 W. Washington St. Since then, business has been slow, he said.

Ron Lytle, founder of the Contemporary School of Arts and Gallery  Inc. at 4 W. Franklin St., said five or six people visited the gallery within the first hour that he was open on Friday.

"We didn't sell anything," Lytle said. "A lot of people like to window shop, but at least they're looking."

Lytle said he encourages people to shop downtown because the businesses there offer "one-of-a-kind" items that aren't found in shopping malls.

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