Small businesses seek holiday shoppers

Nationwide retailers difficult to compete with

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - This holiday season, many shoppers are already plotting their plans for Black Friday. But smaller stores are hoping customers will consider shopping locally instead of at retail chains, especially on Small Business Saturday.

Decked out before December, the storefronts in Avondale are trying to draw the attention of those holiday shoppers.

"I always prefer to shop locally from these local stores," shopper John Abrams said. "Sometimes I find that they just can't compete on price, and I'll go to the big-box stores, but I do prefer to shop locally and support my friends and family who are doing business here."

Many people who stop by are eager to spend at hometown businesses, choosing to avoid the retailers for a more personal experience.

"First of all, I skip Black Friday," shopper Kim Morrison said. "I don't ever go out on Black Friday shopping, and it's important for our local economy for local business owners. These all are people trying to support their families, feed their families."

For local shops, the holiday season has a big impact on their bottomline. It's estimated that last year on
Small Business Saturday, more than 100 million people shopped locally nationwide.

"It's huge, it's huge," small business owner Deb Fewell said. "Fortunately, we have a lot of regular customers who shop throughout the year, but Christmastime we have a whole bunch of new customers that come in and really make it exciting and fun."

Fewell, who owns Cowford Traders, believes her shoppers count on a sense of community, something she thinks her store provides.

"The people that shop here, their children go to school with my children and, you know, are volunteers on the same boards together, and we're very generous on donations to support local causes," Fewell said.

Other stores point out it's tough to compete with nationwide retailers, but many are counting on customers to consider the impact small businesses have on the area economy.

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