HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy continued across the country with Small Business Saturday.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, mom-and-pop shops in the Tri-State Area opened their doors and welcome customers Saturday, hoping holiday bargains bring in a flood of customers.
American Express started Small Business Saturday three years ago, and hoped customers would come out to support the small stores that are often the backbone of local economies, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
In return, shoppers such as Helga from Manhattan hoped to get something extra.
“They have better stuff,” she said. “I feel like it’s better quality.”
“I just like the feeling of smaller businesses that feel like they care more about what they do,” a man added.
Kathleen Childs was hoping her Big Fun Toys shop in Hoboken, N.J., would draw shoppers. Her store features a wind-up nun right alongside eco-friendly toys made all of recycled materials.
“We try to have an interesting selection; stuff you won’t find anywhere else; something different,” Childs said.
Big Fun was one of many businesses in Hoboken alone that were banking on plenty of foot traffic and revenue for this year’s Small Business Saturday.
In the annual promotion the Saturday after Thanksgiving, small mom-and-pops such as Big Fun Toys and Fleet Feet Sports offer big discounts – giving shoppers an incentive to support smaller shops after the big-box Black Friday deals.
“As a small retailer, we don’t get the big bang that a big retailer gets for Black Friday,” said Fleet Feet Sports owner Shawn Marlovits. “So for example, so no one is waiting outside at 5am to get into our store.”
After Superstorm Sandy 14 months ago, many businesses in Hoboken have been rebuilt after being destroyed.
Shop owners have been eager to have a holiday season where they can help make up for last year’s losses, and shoppers said they were eager to oblige.
“I will not be hostage to the crowds and the frenzy and the whole deal that goes on,” one shopper said. “I love small business.”
Jamie and Tony Wierfielif were drawn to Hoboken from Staten Island for a day of shopping.
“The woman that owns that store is such a sweetheart. She’s always very helpful so we always come back here whenever we get a chance,” Jamie said.
Shopping expert Patricia Norins explained that shopping locally can come with some serious benefits.
“When we go out and shop small we can find really unique gifts, fantastic customer service, and it’s really an opportunity to support the businesses that are a fantastic part of our community so that they’re here for the long term,” Norins said.
Small Business Saturday events were also under way in Huntington, Long Island, where the town supervisor said shuttle buses were available to make it easier to park at the train station.
As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, the stores were beautifully decorated for the holiday season in Huntington. Joel Dennett from Cow over the Moon Toys and Sports Memorabilia said it is the personal touch that makes shopping at small businesses so much different from shopping at big-box stores.
“Our customers come here because, not only do we sell them the toy – we recommend the toy,” he said.
Meanwhile at Value Drugs, where holiday decorations, gifts and health and beauty items were available, manager Howard Rosenzweig said the store staff tries to get to know many customers by name. Free gift wrapping is also available.
“I hear it almost on a daily basis – you know, people love Value Drugs because it’s like a one-stop destination store,” he said. “They can get almost anything they want.”
Businesses were offering deals, and events were planned, all around the Tri-State Area for Small Business Saturday. In Suffolk County, Executive Steve Bellone was set to stop at locations around the Long Island county to help celebrate the event.
In Park Slope, Brooklyn, independent shops were set to join forces for Festive Fifth, a family-friendly festival featuring a tree lighting, live children’s music, puppets and jugglers, holiday family movies, and appearances by Santa Claus. Businesses along Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue were set to stay open late for the event.
And in Midtown Manhattan, the boutique STORY at Tenth Avenue and West 44th Street was set to throw a neighborhood block party with offerings from more than 200 independent brands. Artist Claw Money was also sent to paint a mural in support of independent businesses at the shop.
Last year on Small Business Saturday, small businesses racked up $5.5 billion in sales.
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