Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to spend at mom and pops stores

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With Black Friday behind us, shoppers were out in force today for arguably the most important day of the year for independent retailers.

Shoppers were asked to “think small”, as in shop at mom-and-pop type stores in cities and towns for Small Business Saturday.

In the Lincoln Square neighborhood, Small Business Saturday gave a big boost to business at Timeless Toys.

“The best part of game playing is when you get your family together and you can have generations playing together and really having a great time. So it pulls families together as well,” said Martha Burrows, Timeless Toys.

The newest shopping tradition began four years ago across the country. The economic downturn was responsible for turning heads back to Main Street, back to the way we used to shop.

Rudy Flores, Executive Director of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce sees this one day as a nod to tradition, and a new twist on old time charm.

“You get a more festive vibe I think. It’s fun to be outside in the winter time and shopping. Maybe it’s a little chilly, but we’re from Chicago so our skin is pretty thick so we’re used to this,” Flores said.

At the Chopping Block, not only were the knives being picked out, they were being used along with a lot of other kitchen gadgets.

“The next day, after everyone’s crazy on Friday, they can come into a small business and just enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy the calmness of it all,” said Nathan Malsch.

And that’s the point, to show the big box stores and the web can co-exist with mom and pop, especially during the holidays. Even if small businesses overall expect lower sales than last year, many are still optimistic.

“Small businesses still can make it if you come up with a concept that’s not like everybody else. You have to come up with something that didn’t exist. If you work hard, and do it for the right reasons you can still do it. You can beat the big box stores all the time,” said Abdul Qaiyum, Merz Apothecary.

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