Small businesses fight for holiday dollars
Posted November 26, 2010 9:13 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2010 7:57 a.m. EST
While Black Friday unfolded in malls and big box stores across the country, smaller retailers – the locally owned, mom-and-pop stores – looked to set themselves apart and reach shoppers amid the din of newspaper ads and television commercials.
"We definitely don't have 90 percent off computers," said Gabrielle Sepe, an employee at Light Years in Raleigh's Cameron Village. The store is one of three in the Triangle specializing in jewelry, gifts, crafts and home accessories.
Local businesses lack the advertising budgets of the big chains, but they also tend to do without long lines and security guards to prevent stampedes. Foot traffic at Light Years was steady Friday. "Overall, it has been pretty good," Sepe said.
Customers Anna Bickley and Maria Fields appreciated the difference.
"I think this is a more pleasant shopping experience than in a mall where there are crowds of people," Fields said.
Elsewhere in Cameron Village, Julie Jennings, owner of Uniquities said she saw fewer shoppers than last year at her clothing store.
She said small businesses can more quickly make changes to the type and number of products they offer, tailoring inventory to demand.
Cameron Village shops could see another surge of traffic Saturday on the day designated "Small Business Saturday" by Gov. Bev Perdue. The state is building on a tradition started by American Express to encourage shoppers to patronize the small businesses that provide nearly half of private-sector jobs.