Small Business Saturday kicks off holiday season for local retailers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After many shoppers went big on Black Friday, it was all about shopping small on Small Business Saturday.

The Small Business Saturday tradition started in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop at local retailers rather than large chains.

"Every year it gets better and better," said Mojo Spa Co-Owner Amanada Kezios. "I think now more people are aware of Small Business Saturday. At the beginning people didn't even know it was existing."

In Wicker Park, small artisan shops offered special discounts - and, in some cases, food and entertainment.

"It's the equivalent, for us for, about a 50,000 person festival. So it will bring in a lot of crowds," said Transit Tees Owner Tim Gillengerten.

"It will really depict not only how that season's shopping will go, but what's going to be coming up in years ahead," said Pamela Maass, executive director of the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.

Beyond sales numbers, small business owners said Small Business Saturday is also a great way to get to connect and establish a strong customer base with their neighbors.

"It's just a good opportunity to bring everybody out on this day after Black Friday, where probably the Walmarts and Targets of the world are where everyone shops," said shopper Kennedy Lee. "It's a really good opportunity to balance that with smaller businesses too."
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