Small businesses reap sales benefits

Saturday after Thanksgiving draws local shoppers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As shoppers scoured the Internet for sales on cyber Monday, small business owners are balancing the books after a weekend that some consider the busiest all year.

Many stores in Jacksonville felt the success of Small Business Saturday.

The shelves are stocked at one toy store in Avondale, a small shop that reaped the benefits of sales the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

"It was phenomenal. This was our best weekend we've ever had here," said Sandi White, who owns The Green Alligator.

White estimates sales were up by about 50 percent from last year, but just down the street, Willie Hyde believes her clothing store fared better on Friday.

"On Black Friday, we had a sale," Hyde said. "That brought a lot of people in because they could buy at a reduced rate, and so it was actually a better day than Saturday."

Even though specific shopping days are promoted, many small businesses say they're really dependent on the entire holiday shopping season.

"We feel like we're pushing sooner into the holidays than we used to," Hyde said. "We didn't even put a Christmas tree up until after Thanksgiving a few years back. Now we have to because the big stores are doing it."

Mostly avoiding big-box stores, shopper Jane Schlosser thinks it's important to buy local.

"They're all really neat shops, and it's not just the shops but it's the people that run the shops," Schlosser said. "You get to know them. It's like a little family."

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