Houston-area shoppers shop small, support local businesses on Small Business Saturday

There might not be a stampede when the doors open, but the day after Black Friday is big business for small businesses
November 30, 2013 8:55:43 PM PST
Shoppers took to the streets in the spirit of Small Business Saturday. They were once again on the lookout for holiday deals, but focusing instead on neighborhood stores often overshadowed by big retailers.

There might not be a stampede when the doors open, but the day after Black Friday is big business for small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is a marketing initiative started by American Express in 2010 and supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration with the aim of generating support for retailers that operate outside of the big box.

Angie Ford, who owns a boutique shoe store called Premium Kids in Rice Village, says the movement is gaining momentum.

"Over the last three years, this is getting just as big as Black Friday, so we're really excited about it," Ford said. "We're getting ready for a lot of business."

Ford said a lot of her business comes from people just walking around the area and stopping in to see what's on sale.

"We're in an area where there's a lot of walking, so we get a lot of people going in and out from the neighborhood, which is really good, " she said.

Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is an unofficial sales holiday, but it's also a chance for local small businesses to get into the mix. And the money spent here, stays here.

"They're after something they're not going to find in a mall; something that's different and unique," Cher Castro said. "And we have a lot of that."

Castro runs Retropolis in The Heights -- a vintage clothing store.

"It's really relaxing, and there's no crowds here. And it's people that are happy to be out," shopper Susan Skrabanek of Katy said.

According to the Small Business Administration, shoppers spent $5.5 billion on Small Business Saturday, and more of them, according to studies, are becoming aware of it.

"I can park right outside. That's one thing. And overall, in and out, you don't have to deal with the big crowds and looking for parking," shopper Johnny Viera said.

And the shopping experience can be more personal.

"We know people's children; we know people's families," Ford said. "We actually are trying to build relationships here at the store."

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