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Forget Black Friday, Shop Local For Small Biz Saturday

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This holiday season local business owners want you to put your money where your home is.

The stores along Grand Avenue in St. Paul are ready for the season of shopping. Like many businesses in that area, Red Balloon Bookshop is owned by a woman who lives in the neighborhood. Holly Weinkauf says the unique shopping experience at her store and others is what has customers coming back.

“Not too long ago someone walked in our front door and they looked around and said ‘you do not see this’ and they could smell the pages of the books and said, ‘you do not smell this when you go to Amazon,’” she said.

Store owners are offering deals for Small Business Saturday. A national movement wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The companies say shopping small says something about you.

“Whether it’s Black Friday or Saturday or any day of the year, shopping local is more fun. You get better service and a better selection of goods,” said co-owner of Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care, Dan Marshall. “It says you’re much more thoughtful about where you shop. You’ve been more thoughtful about the presents you picked out and that the gift is going to be unique.”

A survey from the National Retail Federation found 147 million shoppers plan to hit stores this Black Friday weekend. And the holiday season can bring in as much as 40 percent of a store’s annual sales. That spending power can make a big difference in our communities.

“It’s what gives the city of St. Paul great character. And it’s not just St. Paul, there’s a lot of great character small stores, locally owned businesses in Minneapolis, and it’s the character of our neighborhood,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “We hope every retailer does well this holiday season we think it’s incredibly important people kick start the economy again with their dollars. The best way to invest a dollar is to invest it with a locally-owned business that will continue to reinvest it with our community.”

Those local businesses hire local help and many offer incentives to schools and neighborhood groups.”

“Everyone who works here, lives here. So when you shop here, your money is staying here,” Weinkauf said. “I try to remind people that when they come here they’re not just buying a book. You can buy books many places, but when you come here you can have a conversation with our great staff about what kind of book would be the best book, you can’t get that type of service at most big box stores.”

Small Business Saturday is a national movement. Last year, a survey found over 100-million people shopped small in their communities on that day.

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