Music store celebrates final Small Business Saturday on State St.
Exclusive Company looking for new location after 24 years downtown
Saturday marked the third annual "Small Business Saturday" during which holiday shoppers are encouraged to buy from locally-owned and operated stores.
President Obama even got into the spirit of the day, as he took his two daughters shopping at a bookstore in Arlington, Virginia.
Small businesses credit their customer service as their main competitive edge over national retail chains.
The day, started originally by American Express is turning into a popular tradition.
But for one well-known Madison business, this year’s "Small Business Saturday" was its last in its familiar State Street location.
For the die-hard music and movie fans shopping at The Exclusive Company, digital downloads will never compete with actual physical discs.
Manager David Peters helps his shoppers fill their home audio and video libraries.
"Certain customers, I know what they like, I know what they're looking for, and I can help them on a personal basis and help find their things," said Peters.
The Exclusive Company on State Street was one of 40 businesses that rolled out special deals and treats for customers over the weekend for the downtown Madison Holiday Open House.
Mary Carbine with the Madison Central Business Improvement District said that having a variety of options enhances downtown's character.
"Really, in a downtown shopping district, the magic is in the mix," said Carbine. "What's really important is that it's a unique mix of products one can't find anywhere else, with that friendly local flavor."
But The Exclusive Company won’t be part of that mix for long: After contributing to downtown's character for 24 years, The Exclusive Company is moving due to what management said is an exponential rent increase.
"It helps to keep things at a nice playing field for everybody and we will be here, we'll find a place to go,” said Peters. “We've been here this long, we're going to continue to be here, we just need to find the right location.”
Some blame area rent increases on the addition of national retail chains to the area. Peters disagrees.
"State Street isn't quite as small owner as it used to be,” said Peters. “There are a lot more chains coming in here. But then there have also been some chains who have left."
Peters said that the music and movie store's search for a new location highlights the importance of supporting small businesses.
"It is important because from small things bigger things can grow,” said Peters.
Peters said that The Exclusive company plans to be on State Street through the end of the year.
The store is holding a "moving sale" until then.
Peters said he hopes to be in a new location by January 1.
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