Longtime business owner hopes to feel boost from Small Business - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Longtime business owner hopes to feel boost from Small Business Saturday

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Shoppers at Ferse's in Orangeburg Shoppers at Ferse's in Orangeburg

Ferse's Five and Dime is a staple on Russell Street in Orangeburg. More than 100 years old, it's one of downtown Orangburg's oldest stores.  And one of the few veteran stores still open for now.

"Business is slack right now to say the least," said Ferse's owner Roy Chandler.

In recent years he's seen downtown businesses die or move out after big box retail stores and dollar store chains moved in.

The 80-year-old Chandler said his business is not profitable.  He uses his retirement to pay the bills.

"My wife says, I'm crazy," said Chandler. "You will too. But this store is a part of Orangeburg. I can't keep doing it."

And the town's business leaders don't want him to. 

The Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association is hoping shoppers will spend money on Small Business Saturday. It's a nationwide push to support local businesses.

"We need to come back downtown again and see what's going on," said D.O.R.A. board member Curt Campbell.

D.O.R.A. regularly hosts Saturday morning concerts, special events and activities to bring customers back. It's been challenging.

"The opportunity is still there," said Campbell. "We keep trying. We try different things."

The group is organizing a "cash mob" event in two weeks, encouraging customers to buy merchandise downtown.

Chandler likes the idea. But he would rather you shop now. Starting Saturday.

"Come down and see us," said Chandler. "Help us survive. Get us going again."

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