Retailers and shoppers embrace Small Business Saturday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls retailers and shoppers embrace Small Business Saturday

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This weekend, retailers across the country and right here in Eastern Iowa are encouraging people to shop local. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is being re-named "Small Business Saturday." It's the second year for the national promotion, spearheaded by American Express, and shoppers in Cedar Falls are embracing the tradition.

"We're doing a lot of Christmas shopping -- shopping for Christmas presents for family and friends," said Sara Clausman, who was shopping Saturday with her daughter Ashley.

Clausman and her family are following an American tradition -- Turkey on Thursday, shopping on Friday and Saturday.

"Do we have a budget? Oh, a little bit of a budget. Depends on what we find," Clausman said.

They're spending that budget in downtown Cedar Falls, shopping at boutique stores like Jennifer's on Main. By doing so, they're investing in the local economy.

"Downtown Cedar Falls in a really vibrant downtown. But to keep it that way, people need to shop local," said Jennifer's on Main owner Jodi Deery.

"For every dollar spent, sixty cents stays within the local community if it is spent at a local retailer. Forty-three cents stays in the community if it is purchased at a big box retailer," added Carol Lilly, director of Community Main Street.

The intent of "Small Business Saturday" is to highlight the benefits of shopping local -- like finding unique items, or receiving personalized attention.

"We feel like it's a good day to celebrate what our local merchants have to offer," said Lilly.

"Small Business Saturday" may not be as big as Black Friday... yet. But the message seems to be catching on.

"We had a customer come in yesterday and wanted to buy a pair of Uggs, and she said -- can I come back tomorrow? I really want to purchase it on Small Business Saturday. Which I thought was really a neat thing," said Deery.

To top it all off, they have the support of the number one Christmas gift-giver.

"Always shop local, downtown Cedar Falls," said Santa Claus.

American Express reports small businesses taking part in the promotion last year saw a 28% increase in sales, compared with the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.

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