Small biz owners say they know what you want on Black Friday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Small biz owners say they know what you want on Black Friday

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IOWA CITY (AP) -

Every year, local businesses compete with huge retail stores for Black Friday shoppers.

However, with Friday being one of the biggest shopping days of the season, small business owners in Iowa City say there's no competition, because they offer something special the big retailers just can't. 

Ritu Jain, who owns Textiles in downtown Iowa City, said she's buying for her store and has specific customers in mind.

"We know our customers, we know what they like, we know our product," said Jain. "I think there's a lot going on in downtown Iowa City and that helps bring people downtown too."

Other small business owners, like Sheila Davisson of Revival, says being a community store is what keeps their loyal customers coming in.

She says big retailers don't bring together the community. What does?

"Being involved in your community, giving something back and spending your dollars supporting local artists and local businesses," says Davisson.

Small business owners say some shoppers just don't want to fight the crowds at the big stores, so they offer a more laid-back shopping experience.

"Black Friday -- it's not as important to us as a small business, so it's not even worth trying to compete necessarily, but we offer something different," said Davisson.

Owners say the big sales large retail corporations offer is no match for small businesses' stellar customer service.

"Throughout our local businesses, whatever their specialty is, they can provide stellar customer service," said Karen Kubby, co-owner of Beadology. "(We) remind them we're here, we're local, our proceeds stay locally, we invest locally, we give locally."

Downtown Iowa City retailers are also offering a Giving Book this year. Each business lists certain products they're selling and when customers purchase those items, 10 percent of the sales go to the Johnson County United Way.

To encourage you to shop in downtown Iowa City, the city is also offering free busing and parking Friday and Saturday.

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