LAFOLLETTE - After a Black Friday full of shopping mayhem, the fun wasn’t over.
Shoppers hit the streets once again, this time focusing on helping small businesses. Small Business Saturday started back in 2010. American Express introduced the idea to encourage customers to visit mom and pop stores.
Today, there are 563,533 small businesses in Tennessee.
Among those is Eliza Dean, a boutique in downtown Lafollette. As they opened their doors this Small Business Saturday, they were also celebrating a milestone.
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"This is our anniversary, our one year of being here,” said owner Leah Teague. “I can't believe it’s been a year, a whirlwind of craziness.”
Inside the shop, there’s an array of handmade treasures, with tributes to Teague’s Tennessee roots.
"We use a lot of vintage fabric, southern bohemian,” Teague said. “We are flooded with fast fashion, and I think people find comfort in that 'homey' feel of product.”
Customers from all over visit for the items that have soul.
"All these are handmade from vintage quilts,” explained Leah. “We go out and hunt for the cutest little patterns, one we just got in actually had a note pinned to it, with little ladies handwriting. I believe it was Mildred Thompson, 1940-1940 That little love she put into that quilt so, so long ago is now with a few different people.”
Just like the products take you back to simpler times, Teague hopes her store will bring back life to downtown Lafollette
"I’ve heard stories about my mom going shopping for Sunday dresses at the department stores downtown and we would love to see that happen again in this area,” Teague said.
For inspiration, she keeps a black and white picture on the store wall depicting the downtown Lafollette area during a time when the streets were filled with shops and restaurants.