Small Business Saturday raises local retailer awareness

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This is the weekend many shoppers open their wallets on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but nestled in between those two big shopping days is Small Business Saturday.

Robust Coffee Lounge has been in the Woodlawn neighborhood for five years, as long Small Business Saturday has been around.

"To get a group who has a following like the South East Chamber does, to get a group like Amex that is putting on something like Small Business Saturday and promoting that people should go out and support their local businesses absolutely drives traffic," said Jake Sapstein.

At Comfort Me Boutique in Hyde Park, Mary K. Bird-Gwilliams can't imagine shopping at a big box store when a small business needs her patronage.

"I like to keep them around," she said. "It's quite simple, I'd much prefer to give my money to small businesses than the larger corporations that don't need it as much."

The owners of Comfort Me Boutique say this is a day to raise awareness of local retailers.

"It really helps us build our business and get more clientele here," Bethany Thomas said.

"This is what creates the character of our towns so we really hope that people come out and support us," said Melanie Thomas.

As an incentive to get customers to spend a little more on a day like this, the South East Chicago Commission hands out passport books full of deals.

Terren Wein used her coupon to save $10 on a purchase for herself.

"I have been in Hyde Park for a really long time and I'm really thankful that we have these small businesses here in Hyde Park. It's made a big difference," she said.

Wein said she's happy to be out with her daughter supporting stores she hopes her community can sustain for a long time.
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