"Small Business Saturday" stimulates local economy, gives shoppers unique experience

- Competing with huge retailers like Best Buy or Belk during Black Friday sales can be difficult for small business owners.

"Especially as the antidote for Black Friday, today is about meeting people in your community who are making things themselves," Megan Gude said,

"Small Business Saturday" started seven years ago to help small business owners get more customers during the holidays.

"We need to support local business because they hire people. They provide really great benefits and it gives you the opportunity to contribute back without necessarily being part of a system," Charlotte District 3 Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield said.

Also, all the money spent and received stays here.

"Local business is kind of the vibe of south end. It's who south end is and so celebrating Small Business Saturday here, just makes a lot of sense," Gude said.

Over 200 local South End businesses joined the sales and another hundred set up shops in pop-up market getting exposure they wouldn't get otherwise.

"I think today is special because it brings out people who don't recognize there is so much in their back yard. I think south end has a lot of main attractions but often times these little stores don't get noticed and today is a really great day to bring them out," shopper Nate Kinney said

Not only is it stimulating the local economy but it's also giving shoppers one of a kind items.

"Where in a box store would I find a giant bow for sunglasses? This is shopping local. This is supporting local business owner who had creative ideas and identified something that is unique," Councilwoman Mayfield said

"Once people start supporting local businesses it give you not only the means, the money but it also gives you the inspiration to create things that you know people want because you are right here staring them in the face when you are having conversations with them," South End business owner Brenda Jarvis said.

"I think there is a great connection that you have with business owners and their products and you don't get that in the big boxes," Kinney said.

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