Families shop Saturday on Water Street in downtown Skowhegan during SKOW-Whoville 2023 activities. Jake Freudberg/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — Small businesses in Skowhegan’s growing downtown area are off to a strong — but unpredictable — start to the holiday season.

Dozens of businesses participated in Main Street Skowhegan’s weeklong “Shop Small” promotion that began after Thanksgiving, offering deals and discounts to shoppers getting an early start on their holiday shopping.

“I’ve heard from multiple people that Small Business Saturday was extremely busy,” Kristina Cannon, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said. “I’ll be interested to hear what their (business owners) feedback is about the week.”

Amy Rowbottom, owner of Crooked Face Creamery, said her cheese sales throughout the year are tough to predict. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Rowbottom reported a rush in customers, but said she always has to find a careful balance between her retail store at 42 Court St. and her wholesale accounts.

“It’s always different,” Rowbottom said. “It’s a roller coaster ride.”

Rowbottom said she was expecting a busy day this past Saturday, with hundreds of families downtown for Main Street Skowhegan’s SKOW-Whoville 2023 festivities.


Cannon said the weekend of Grinch-themed fun intentionally coincides with the end of the “Shop Small” promotion.

“Businesses were looking forward to it,” Cannon said.

At Boynton’s Greenhouses Inc. at 144 Madison Ave., general manager Ellen Boucher said she was not sure how this holiday season might go, given an economy still mired in rising prices.

“I almost worried people wouldn’t buy the decorations they usually do,” said Boucher, who has worked at the flower, garden and gift shop for 40 years. “But that hasn’t been the case.”

Traffic moves Saturday along Water Street in Skowhegan during SKOW-Whoville 2023 activities. Jake Freudberg/Morning Sentinel

Boucher said after a “dead” Black Friday, shoppers have been flocking to the store to buy holiday wreaths, among other items.

“It’s been crazy,” Boucher said. “We’re pumped.”


While it might have been a slow day at Boynton’s Greenhouses, Black Friday was a big day for another local business.

RC Destination, a remote control hobby store previously located in Norridgewock, opened its new, expanded location at Skowhegan Plaza the day after Thanksgiving.

Owners Dennis and Danielle Turner said the day far exceeded what they expected for their store at 6 Main St.

“We had our biggest weekend in quite a few months,” Danielle Turner said. “The community has welcomed us.”

River’s Edge Teas & Treats, another newcomer to Skowhegan’s downtown, has also been busy since it opened in September, owner Sally Preble said about her candy shop on Water Street.

“A lot of people, new faces,” said Preble, who came out of retirement to open the store. “I think we’ve got a hit here.”


And what was an unpredictable week for some was nothing out of the ordinary for others.

“I can tell you how my year is going to go day to day,” Greg Salisbury, owner of Hilltop Antiques at 48 Water St., said.

Salisbury said November is typically one of the slower months for his store, and sales tend to pick up through December as people look for smaller holiday gifts.

“We do a lot of sales anyway,” Salisbury said, “but we had a good week.”

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