The National Retail Federation says that retail sales will be up 23 percent this season over last. The shops along Laurel Street in San Carlos are promoting Small Business Saturday, hoping that increase gets to them.Executive chef Miriam Russell Wadleigh is whipping up eggs at Piacere Restaurant. She is skeptical that Small Business Saturday will cook up more business for local shops. "It's really hard to tell for us downtown if its really going to be more successful for the malls," she said. Small Business Saturday is a national move to try and boost business for small local stores that are usually left behind in the Black Friday rush for bargains at large retailers. According to American Express, for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the communities in taxes, payroll and other expenditures. "There is a good chance because everyone has gotten the word out so it could bring you know help out the local businesses," Footwear, Etc. store manager Don Mange said. Mange says small business offer a more intimate shopping experience. "A little bit more friendly employee staff, we can wait on you one on one instead of in a big group, spend a little more time individually with each person," he said. Louise Ward enjoys shopping locally "I do shop locally because I feel the businesses need the business,' she said. There is a sense of optimism among many people, especially employees who depend on tips as well as a salary. They see business actually improving over last year's holiday season. "It's been better cause last year it was really bad the beginning of the year was really terrible; for the last three months it's been picking up," Piacere bartender Aline Santos said. Freddie Joudieh owns Sarrtori's men's shop. He says Black Friday may belong to the big stores, but Saturday will fill the smaller shops. "That's why you don't see a lot of traffic in our area because we have a Black Friday on Saturday," he said.
The four-day Thanksgiving weekend brings in big bucks for major retailers. But for the first time, there is a push for Small Business Saturday to help give a boost to struggling local economies.