A gift mecca right in our midst: On Small Biz Saturday show downtown some love

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Alex Bedirian of Wells, left chats with his friend, Jim Vachon as Collec-tiques clerk Sue Drummond looks on. (Rochester Voice photo)

ROCHESTER - Not everyone in the Northern Seacoast - or even Rochester - may know it, but there's a world of shopping in the downtown; all you have to be is adventurous enough to go find it for yourselves.

That's what brought Alex Bedirian of Wells to Collec-tiques with his friend, Jim Vachon, whose from the area but now lives in New York City.

"Jim lives in New York and he recently came home for the holidays to find his dad had thrown out all his toys from when he was a kid," Bedirian said on Friday. "So I talked him into going on a treasure hunt to try to find them, and we came here cause this is the only place they have stuff like this."

DIGITAL DIVIDE; Music lovers who enjoy their music via vinyl or delivered by CD browse Skele-Tones on Friday afternoon. (Rochester Voice photo)

The two talked turkey with owner Marc Saxby, who is sort of a curator of vintage toys from the '70s, '80s and '90s, video games and all things "Star Wars."

Next stop wasn't a long walk, about two doors up to Skele-tone Records, where co-owner Todd Radict was seeing a brisk business the day before Small Business Saturday.

"Business is going great," Radict said. "We actually

SALING TAKES ME AWAY: Union Street Antiques is a veritable cornucopia of gifts, knickknacks and other people's former stuff just waiting to be someone's buried treasure. (Courtesy photo)

did good all the way through the pandemic, too. People are tired of digital music. They want something they can take home, hold in their hands and look at."

Skele-tones, widely regarded as perhaps the top record store in the state, sells a lot of CD as well as vinyl which is making a steady comeback.

Radict said he was glad for the brisk business he was doing on Friday, noting that holiday shopping accounts for more than 50 percent of his annual sales.

The Franklin Gallery at RiverStones is currently showing an exhibit of

Jeff Bisson measures out holiday candy bags at Sprinkles and Smiles on North Main Street. (Rochester Voice photo)

"thread painting" by Seacoast artist Melanie Lovering. The artwork is visually intriguing, unique and all for sale for would surely be a Christmas gift no one would expect. Prices for her work start at a few hundred dollars.

RiverStones owner Kris Ebbeson said she, too, was extremely busy this season with pent-up demand for many of her hand-crafted store items and artwork.

If your budget won't permit a pricy work of art, head over to Union Street Antiques, where you can easily spend hours poring over their vast array of stuff from A to Z and every letter in between.

We plucked a few things off the shelves, ourselves, including a Red Sox slugger Ted Williams collectible photo and a darling little lighted Christmas tree all snug in a tiny sleigh for $37 for both.

So, today, feel free to skip the mall and give it your all in the downtown.

And when you're done gifting and ready for a drink, no worries.

Downtown has a plethora of places for thirsty shoppers, too.

Happy Small Business Saturday!

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