Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there's Small Business Saturday, an initiative started in 2010 by American Express to encourage shoppers to support local merchants. Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was among New Yorkers taking advantage of Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses. In Bed-Stuy on Saturday, he bought a cactus at a small flower shop called Flower Works where store owner, Marcia Melendez reminded him he didn’t need to water it too much.
The head of the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District says it's important these merchants are not forgotten during the holidays as the emphasis is often put on deep discounts at major retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"We're looking to really try to help them put themselves on the map so that they can attract new shoppers, make some revenue and bring some holiday cheer throughout the season," said Michael Lambert, executive director of the Bed-Stuy BID.
Small business owners say they're thankful that the focus is on them and they're ready to show patrons why shopping small is the way to go.
"We will go out of our way and do little things that other people won't do," said Marcia Melendez of Flower Works. “You get a lot more unique items. You know, it's nice to go to an event and not wear something that everyone else is wearing because you got it in a boutique in your neighborhood.”
Buying local doesn't exactly look or feel like what most of us are used to experiencing during the busy holiday shopping season, but that's exactly why most people who shop small say they do it.
"It's more easier, you know, because it's always a whole lot of lines in the malls and stuff, but here can walk in and out and get what you want,” said shopper Janet Barnes.
If you take your time and know where to look, you might make out just as good or even better than waiting in line or going online for deals.
"You find them at the smaller stores,” said shopper Patricia Yates, referring to where to find deals. “You can negotiate with the merchants on a personal level at the smaller stores. That's why I like small businesses.”