Local businesses try to cash in on Small Business Saturday

By Anthony Antoine | aantoine@wcia.com

Published 11/30 2013 08:29PM

Updated 11/30 2013 11:00PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Large retailers kick of the holiday shopping season with door buster deals. But local businesses are hoping Small Business Saturday can make a big impact on their bottom line.

In between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers in Champaign can take advantage of the special day devoted to locally-owned businesses.

“My husband and I bought it just because we wanted to support the downtown support the local economy we love being able to employ people locally,” said Susan Elmore, owner of Jane Adams Book Store.

The store has been downtown for almost 30 years. But in that time, things have changed. Elmore is finding new ways to compete with her bigger competitors.

“I think people are looking for more an experience when they go to a store,” Elmore said. “Something unique, something different so we can chat and talk and come up with ideas.”

But that’s not all shoppers can get locally. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) says 67 percent of small business owners will offer discounts this weekend.

Elmore is offering Christmas Cards at 50 percent off, and if shoppers spend $25, the store will give them $5 back.

The NFIB also says 39 percent of small businesses will collaborate with other small businesses on this shopping day.

That includes stores like Spitz Jewelers, also in downtown Champaign. That store joined a long list of others offering cash prizes for people who visited on Saturday.

And 33 percent of businesses will rely on social media to promote themselves during this shopping event.

“Our daughter-in-law, Judy, runs the store and she does Facebook and Twitter so our deals are on there,” Elmore said.

A late Thanksgiving will take away a few shopping days from the season this year, but local small businesses are optimistic.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Elmore said. “It could make a difference, but hopefully everybody will be out shopping and they’re going to buy as much as they would of before just in a shorter period of time.”

Retailers in Champaign will also offer discounts next weekend.

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