Local small businesses entering 2013 with cautious optimism

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Along Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Kassatly's has been in place the longest of any local store.  For 90 years the shop has sold unique, high-end sweaters, linens and sleep wear.

Ed Kassatly and his brother have carried their father's tradition forward.

"2012 was quite strong for us, we noticed maybe a little decrease in foot traffic, but the people that were coming in were spending more money," Ed said.

The new generation, Ed's son, has set up the store's website.

Looking back, the worst hiccup in sales is what Ed calls the "Madoff Era."

"People did cut back, and that was the first dip that we had ever noticed," he said.

In Northwood, My Old New Chair has been in place for 14 years. In 2013, owner Vianys Campo says she is considering expanding square footage and adding two new employees.

Her business of reupholstering seating, sewing drapes and making custom bed linens has continued by word of mouth.

"I get one designer, the designer sends me another designer.  People, owners, or they are buying a house, I do a chair and they give my name to another person," she said.

Campo says she is hopeful her small business neighbors in Northwood continue to fight for improvements so she can get more walk-in business.

"I think it is going to be successful in 2013," she said.

In Lake Worth, family-run McLelland's Saddlery opened in 1892.  Perry McLelland owns the shop with his two siblings.  He believes the coming year is all about expansion to other cities and countries.

"We are trying to expand on some of those things without creating more work, which is a challenge," he laughed.

The business of handmade saddles and bridles has survived the automobile, the Depression and the Recession.  Perry believes their success will hinge on what it always has: delivering on their promise.

"We're finding that people are not always buying the most elaborate equipment, the most expensive equipment," he said.

Each business is entering 2013 with cautious optimism.

"I don't know about this falling off the cliff, what that's going to mean, but I seriously doubt if it's really going to affect fine, small, family-owned businesses," Ed Kassatly said.

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