Shoppers take part in Small Business Saturday


JACKSONVILLE,Fla. – Black Friday is over and Cyber Monday is still a few days away. But that didn't stop people from getting out Saturday to do some shopping.

Small Business Saturday has become a tradition two days after Thanksgiving, where people go to locally owned and operated stores and shop to keep the money in the local community.

One of the biggest place for people to shop locally is the Riverside Arts Market. Dozens of vendors were set up Saturday morning waiting to show people what they have to offer. But things got a later start than normal for some, thanks to the massive fire downtown.

With Jefferson Street closed going into Riverside, some had to find another way to get to the arts market, but they say it's not too much of a hassle.

"Coming over the Acosta Bridge from the beaches, I could see smoke from the fire," said one unidentified shopper. " It's not really gonna stop anyone from coming here. Folks that come here are very loyal. I think if people want to come, they will find a way to get here. There are other roads. I hope they come down." 

Shoppers hit other stores throughout the Riverside area as well. They say part of the joy of Small Business Saturday is that they know the owners of the small shops and enjoy knowing they are helping out not only a small business, but also a friend.

They're more personal and they support the community," said Betty Estis. "I really enjoy that. I enjoy coming to the small shops. Especially the ones that are very inventive in what they do. They deserve the support of the community." 

Small-business owners say that it can be tough going up against the major retailers on days like Black Friday, but they know their loyal customers like local products.

"Your small business owner lives here. He pays his taxes here. His children go to school here. All of those important things that help a city become an actual community come together," said Roger Russell, a small business owner.

"We try not to compete too much but I obviously offer a little bit of a discount to get people to shop. People in the neighborhood know me and my store. They shop here because they like the customer service," said Ashley Holt.

Once drivers were able to get around the downtown road closures, they packed the Arts Market, finding the deals they were looking for this weekend.