AIKEN, S.C. (WFXG) - Many shoppers in recent years have opted for the perceived convenience of holiday shopping online and having gifts delivered, but there are many businesses in downtown Aiken hoping you'll come for the Black Friday sales and stay for the small-town charm.

Jeffrey Rovenpor is the owner of one such business. The Fox's Tale is both a book store, offering rare and antique books, and a gift store featuring small goods and gifts for the home. Of his book store, Rovenpor says, "We have a lot of unique or hard to find items you can find anywhere else.” He also touts the personalized experience offered at The Fox's Tale. "People will tell us what they want or what they're looking for, and we can generally get it for them."

Each of the locally-owned shops on Aiken's Laurens St. helps to tell the story of this small southern city.

“It’s got this old town vibe, an old Main Street, and it’s very vibrant," says Rovenpor. "All the shops are full. People like to jump from one shop to another. There’s really no match for an old-timey Main Street.”

Shopper Mary Boswell says supporting local businesses means a lot to her, as a member of this community. “I like just being able to come in and know the people working here, and knowing that I’m supporting small business owners in Aiken.”

Nikita Hanif is the store manager for Beyond Bijoux, a women's boutique. She says, before she worked at the store, she shopped there. She says the store is full of finds that not only appeal to Aiken's specific customer base, but they're also high-quality and thoughtfully selected.

“These aren’t items that we’re buying in bulk. Every items in these shops are hand-picked by the owner. She picks out things and says, ‘You know what? My shoppers are going to like that.’”

Hanif says the upcoming holiday weekend is a big deal for small shops, as locals and out-of-town guests alike take to the streets in search of gifts on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. She says it's those shoppers who made all the difference for downtown Aiken for the last couple of years.

"During the pandemic, a lot of these people, here in Aiken, supported us and kept us going," she says. "To me, downtown Aiken is kind of a magical place to be."

It's a place to make a memory and where your dollar can make a difference.

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