After Black Friday now comes Small Business Saturday - | WBTV Charlotte

After Black Friday now comes Small Business Saturday

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Christmas shopping season is in full swing.  Tens of thousands of shoppers in our area were hitting the stores early Friday morning in search of the best deals.

While many people are looking for bargains at malls and big box stores, small business owners are hoping you won't forget them.

They're getting ready for Small Business Saturday, a nationwide push for you to spend money at locally owned shops.

There's a bigger push for it this year.  Cities have made proclamations, chambers of commerce and U.S. senators have lent their support.

The idea for Small Business Saturday was born last year to encourage you to think outside the big box - to try out the mom and pop stores for your holiday shopping.

"The economy has affected how we do things, yes," said Troy Hasbruck, who has co-owned Rebel Base Comics and Toys since 1994.

Eight years ago they moved from Independence Boulevard to a location near Cotswold in a spot affectionately known as "the underground."

Hasbruck says it's been a struggle staying afloat in this economy.  Business peaked four years ago and they're still trying to get back.

"Since we are a hobby shop we're the first things cut when people cut back," said Hasbruck.  "But on the side note to that, people need their distractions, they need their hobbies to keep them going."

And keeping small businesses going is what the "shop small" effort, and this weekend's Small Business Saturday is all about.

Chris Beachley owns The Wax Museum, a record store on Monroe Road.

Records used to be on wax.  And his records are old, thus museum, thus The Wax Museum.

And Chris makes a good point about small business.

"Small businesses are what this country was built on. You take McDonald's. It was a small business when it started," says Beachley.

Small businesses create half of the jobs in the private sector.  In fact,  have created 65-percent of the net new jobs over the last 17 years.

You want to help out the economy?  Small businesses say help them.  But in a busy world, in an age of one-stop shopping, they can take a back seat to the big box.

American Express, the credit card company, came up with the idea last year to have a shopping day dedicated to the small business in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the on-line shopping day.)

Last year's Small Business Saturday is being credited for increasing sales for independent retailers by 28 percent.

AMEX is sponsoring special events in 15 cities including Charlotte.

Merchants in SouthEnd are involved in the effort.  There will be gift-wrapping, live music and a visit from Santa.

In the Gaston County town of Belmont, business owner Michelle LaVecchia is hoping the day will bring in new customers.

"My feeling is people really want to support their local businesses, even if it means they've got spend a couple extra pennies here or there," said LaVecchia, who owns The Belmont General Store.

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