H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Nov 24, 2012 9:53 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News

Small Business Saturday brings big money to local businesses

The Black Friday rush is over but many stores along the Central Coast were still busy today with shoppers.

That's because it's Small Business Saturday. The day is sponsored by American Express to encourage shoppers to buy locally.

"Downtown San Luis Obispo has a lot of great small businesses and they might get overlooked by some of the bigger stores, especially the bigger stores that are having huge Black Friday sales and Christmas sales," Sarah Leonard, Assistant Managaer at Human Kind Fair Traide, said. "We need that, we need that foot traffic."
Between the markdowns and the masses, some places can't compete in the Holiday shopping blitz following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bigger savings at big stores tend to mean smaller profits for small stores.

"Every year you see really cool businesses come and go and it's just really hard," Leonard said.

Human Kind Fair Trade is about as small as it gets. With only one store front and no web site, the shop is operated by volunteers and "one and a half paid employees".

But they're fighting back against the big-box store deals this year, asking the community to support shops like theirs and the people who run them, like Laura Mullen.
Laura doesn't earn a paycheck, but her work pays off a greater good.

"I think you also have an experience when you shop locally," Laura said. "I mean, we get to know your name."
Small Business Saturday honors people like Laura, because sometimes competing in the holiday shopping sprint means taking one small step after another.

"Our downtown is adorable and part of the reason for that is because of the small businesses," Leonard said.

Of course, Small Business Saturday isn't the only day these business owners encourage shoppers to spend their dollars locally, but American Express was offering a reward of $25 for supporting those businesses today.

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