Local small business owners optimistic for 2012

Small businesses in 2012

While the ailing economy hit everyone hard, some small businesses in the area were able to hang tough and are looking forward to the upcoming year. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 2, 2012)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- The holiday season hasn't slowed down shoppers at M.B. Jewelry and Beads in Downtown Aiken.

"We got off to a shaky start, but, as the year progressed, business actually increased in total new customers," said Mary O'Hare, the owner.

She said 2011 has been a good year for her growing business.

"I look at 2011 as a complete success and cannot wait for 2012," she said.

Across the street, Chris Lydle has seen similar results.

"2011 is the best year ever in terms of sales and service," he said of his business, Chris' Camera Center.

He sells cameras of all sizes and their accessories. O'Hare sells jewelry and ornate stone beads. But both have one tactic to tackle the recession: doing things differently.

"If you don't keep moving, you sink. So we've kept moving, and I've reinvented myself so many times, I'm not sure my mother would recognize me," Lydle said.

"I've had a lot of people that have found me, because I created a Facebook page. You can list your store for free," said O'Hare, about the importance of advertising, even during tougher times.

Now, with 2012 here, both have their fingers crossed for another good year.

"I think we'll continue to prosper," Lydle said.

And some surveys show that small businesses are on the rise again as the nation's economy slowly heals.

But what's Lydle's business goal for 2012?

"I just plan to keep going longer than that Mayan calendar that predicts the disaster," he said jokingly.

Of course, not everyone we spoke with had the same fortune. The owners of a quilt shop said 2011 was a bad one. They are planning for 2012 though. They're hoping to offer more services to bring more customers through the door.

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