Small businesses surviving the holidays - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Small businesses surviving the holidays

Of the billions of dollars spent on "Black Friday" this year, small businesses weren't left out. Shoppers may have waited a day, but many took part in "Small Business Saturday" by shopping locally.

Black Friday is always surrounded with the shopping hype, but a new day is trying to keep up when it comes to holiday shopping -- "Small Business Saturday".

"We did have a pretty good turnout. It's started out slow in the morning but by the afternoon we were slammed," said Main Street Toy Shop owner Gladys Griffin.

Some local shops in Columbus offered discounts and other deals to bring shoppers in the door, but they say their biggest draw comes from the services they offer customers.

The Cherry Zebra employee Leigh-Anne Paul explained, "We offer unique gifts that the larger stores can't. We offer customer service that you won't get anywhere else. We have personalization, monogramming, and we just have that personal touch that bigger businesses don't offer."

Although Gladys Griffin admits it's hard to compete with the "big box stores", she says small businesses can stay afloat by their consistency and one-on-one help, "We're good at helping customers, showing them what they can get for the age group they are shopping for. If we don't have it here, we'll try to special order it for them, sometimes that works. We have free gift wrapping and sometimes I even deliver if I need to."

She adds, Small Business Saturday was a hit, but she counts on the week before Christmas to really deliver, "We'll do a few more specials but not a whole lot. Our busiest day is the Saturday before Christmas and so we're looking forward to that."

Local small business employees, like Leigh-Anne Paul, say they may have their work cut out for them this holiday season, but seeing lines out the door really pays off, "It means our hard work and customer service has paid off and people want to shop local."

A lot of local stores we talked to say the rush on small business Saturday did help them kick off the holiday season financially, but many of them see the most customers right before Christmas.

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