'Small Business Saturday' promotes mom, pop shops

November 25, 2010 9:04:30 PM PST
Friday is "Black Friday," but new this year is "Small Business Saturday." The idea is to stimulate the economy by promoting the kind of mom and pop stores that keep local communities alive.

Two days before Black Friday, people were camping out in front of the Best Buy store in Colma. Are they savvy consumers or just crazy? But, small businesses in places like Walnut Creek are saying you do not have to expose yourself to the elements to get a serious bargain on Saturday.

"That's usually our busiest day. People are just relaxing that day with visitors coming in for the holiday," says owner Anne Morgan, owner of Cafe Leonidas.

"Shop Local Saturday" is a new marketing campaign to lure customers into the mom and pop stores. The past two years have been challenging for most of them.

"The number one issue is the economy, especially. People can't afford to buy anything," says Evelyn de la Fuente at Silver Moon Jewelers.

At Liliana Castellanos in Walnut Creek, things have started to pick up.

"It's much better than last year. We increased sales by 60 percent from last year, so that is very good for us," says owner Irene Needoba.

Still, most small retailers are hoping for more gains. Morgan knows what it means to support local businesses.

"If you pick, the consumer pick, three independently-owned businesses that they would purchase $50 a month from, then they would keep us in business," she says.

Many customers say smaller stores deliver a better shopping experience.

"I think smaller businesses understand their customers more and that way they can give better customer service. They understand their customer and they aren't just another number to them," says shopper Matana Leplay.

People like Morgan hope "Small Business Saturday" will catch on.


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