Chicago area shops rely on Small Business Saturday to bring awareness to shopping locally

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Many consumers are taking to city and suburban neighborhoods for Small Business Saturday.

The day is meant to encourage consumers to support small businesses by shopping locally during the big kickoff weekend to the holiday shopping season.

Lauren ball's Boutique Envie is one of many businesses in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood excited for the big rush.

"I'm excited because it draws traffic to Bronzeville. It makes [people] business aware, people aware of what's going on in Bronzeville," she said.

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Ball's two-year old clothing shop opened on East 47th Street just before the pandemic hit, but is hosting several pop-up shops in an effort to support other small businesses, like Lisa Holloway's Plush Life Greeting Cards and Gifts.

"That awareness is really important to our community and, again, it's about keeping the dollar here," Holloway said.

Sandberg Jewelers in north suburban Skokie hopes to cash in on renewed consumer awareness.

Unlike other retailers, the 102-year-old family-owned business hasn't been hampered by supply chain or inventory issues.

"I started shopping very early and started ordering very early," said Sandberg Jewelers' owner, Susan Sandberg. "I was set up even before August... we had all the merchandise we needed and we're now just filtering it into the cases."

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With things beginning to open up, it's expected that millions of consumers will shop early and often, and hopefully at mom and pop shops.

"When you come out...helping to support the bottom line, and helping them to support families and friends that are right around you," said Rudy Flores, executive director of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Local merchants hope to double their revenue for the day, but they also hope to build local connections when people look to shop on Cyber Monday.
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