Local shoppers support Small Businesses Saturday in downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Day two of the Christmas shopping season means a lot to small businesses after the excitement of Black Friday. The eager crowds who crowded the aisles of department stores in search of bargains give way to more deliberate supporters of locally owned boutiques and specialty shops, many located in downtown Raleigh.

The more relaxed vibe appeals to Janelle Brown, a college student back home for the holidays.

"I actually kind of like that idea! Even walking downtown, it's a nice feeling," she said.

Raleigh is one of the thousands of communities across the nation where local merchants partner with American Express for Small Business Saturday.

Kathleen Louis of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance said, "We really work to promote our downtown retailer. We have over a hundred small businesses in downtown."

Not everyone strolling along downtown streets Saturday embraces the concept when asked. Qunisha Springs told us " I'm more of a Crabtree Mall, Triangle mall person. Southpoint Mall, yeah!"

On the other hand, local shopper Lynn O'Brien smiled while talking to ABC11.

"Oh, don't go to the mall! It's a beautiful day out, you can walk around outside," she said. "Patronize local businesses, and to put the money back into the local community!"

Springs said smaller stores might attract mall shoppers like her with "Local events, to promote their product. To get more people to come out and see what they've got to offer. Because a lot of local shops, you don't know what's inside."

That's what the Downtown Raleigh Alliance promoted on Saturday at an information station, handing out color-coded maps that identify local merchants all over town, distributing cloth shopping bags that advertise the shop local idea, even signing up people for a raffle of gift cards.

Holly Aiken, the owner of the Stith specialty leather shop, appreciates the support.

"Just knowing that the product is made here in Raleigh and it's as local as it can be," she told ABC11.

She and others with locally owned shops count on Small Business Saturday to boost their bottom line during final weeks of the year.


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