PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tired of overcrowded malls, big box chain stores and Black Friday hype?
“Avoid the mall, shop small,” says shop owner Jean Heller.
Small, as in small business, that is.
“Black Friday is nothing compared to Small Business Saturday because what’s happening on Small Business Saturday is people are voting with their money and they’re saying, we want you to stay in business,” Heller, owner of Journeys of Life, tells KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.
Two years ago, a fire devastated Heller’s shop in Shadyside, which is now reopened.
She credits the reopening of her shop to Small Business Saturday last year.
“It was my largest grossing dollar day that I’ve ever had in my business,” notes Heller.
The day is growing as more independent stores fight for survival against national chain stores.
“It’s extremely important to get out there and support small business,” says Suzanne Lupka, manager of a local toy store.
S.W. Randall’s sells toys for children of all ages and claim they offer customers more.
“You get toys here that you can’t get anywhere else. We specialize in a lot of toys that aren’t made in China, a lot of toys that are made in the U.S., classic toys, toys that you remember from your childhood,” says Lupka.
To encourage small business shopping, some stores will display special mats, hand out free shopping bags and even give out different promotional items, such as handmade Navajo ornaments at the Four Winds Gallery.
“We try to be way more connected and interpersonal than the chains or buying online,” adds John Krena, owner of Four Winds Gallery.
As for parking, the city of Pittsburgh has free on-street parking throughout the city all day on Small Business Saturday.
“This is the day that those small, independent stores can shine,” says Heller.