Big box stores have had their doors open since Thanksgiving, offering deep discounts, but Saturday, “mom and pop” stores were hoping to cash in on the holiday shopping bonanza.
Bonne Sante Health Foods in Hyde Park has been around for 40 years. Like many other small businesses around Chicagoland, the holiday shopping season is a critical time of year.
On Small Business Saturday, they hoped customers would look to them for unique gifts, instead of department stores.
“People like to come to a brick and mortar cause of our staff and knowledge,” said George Perez of Bonne Sante Health Foods.
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett grew up in Hyde Park.
She came back to her old neighborhood Saturday to shop at some small businesses.
“Chicago is always going to be home to me,” she said. “So it’s a way of supporting my neighborhood.”
Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American express. In part to help small retailers during the economic downturn and it continues to grow in popularity.
“I think Small Business Saturday is phenomenal. I’m very excited about this opportunity,” said Jackie Jackson of Kilwin's Chocolates.
The Federal Small Business Administration estimated that customers spent nearly $5.5 billion nationwide last year at small, independent stores during the event.
Business leaders say it’s important for people to support local business on Small Business Saturday and all year long.
“We love today but we also love every day,” said Shirely Newsome of the South East Chicago Commission. “It’s part of our mission to get people in local community and outside of community to shop in their local stores.”