Shoppers cash in on Small Business Saturday

HARLINGEN — Vincent Scott walked out with his arms full of bargains.

He might not have found the photo scanner at the Salvation Army Family Store if he hadn’t heard about the 10th Annual Small Business Saturday. As it was, the 45-year-old Scott paid a whopping $3 for the scanner at the store on Jackson Street. He was even allowed to plug it in to determine if it worked.

“My old one was really getting old,” said Scott, who also clutched a small framed picture.

“I do a lot of film with film cameras,” he said, adding he’d previously found deals at the store for $5 or less.

It was much the same up and down Jackson Street, where shoppers were slowly filling the streets as they visited local mom-and-pop stores owned by local proprietors.

“We’ve been very, very busy,” said Beto Pena, owner of Sportz Fanz.

“We have everything in the store 10 percent off,” he said. “Some things we’ve marked down up to 35 percent.”

A flood of shoppers had come into the store earlier in the day.

“It’s slowed down a little bit,” he said.

He looked over at a table of refreshments for shoppers. A large jug of red punch stood almost empty.

“It was halfway up,” he said.

Some shoppers were enjoying Jackson Street without any real attention to Small Business Saturday.

“I got a tumbler for a Christmas present,” said Albert Pena, 53, of San Perlita.

“We’re just kind of browsing,” he said.

Some had come to Jackson Street with several purposes in mind.

“I am trying to promote small business,” said Alma Becerra, 44, who runs a Facebook page called “Shop Small Harlingen.”

She was also shopping and had just purchased a Christmas present for her nephew.

“It’s going great,” she said. She’d already been to Wild August Nursery and Flower Farm on Garrett Road, a sort of farmer’s market for plants. Now she seemed to be caught up in the energy of downtown.

“There are so many stores that people don’t know about,” she said.

Small Business Saturday is important for local store owners, said Beto Pena.

“It’s very important to raise more awareness about downtown,” he said. “We have the same customers come up shopping on Saturday and we keep hearing the comment, ‘We buy local.’”