SHOPPING SMALL: Small Business Saturday

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For Jane and Ann Swenson, a Saturday in Valley Junction beats battling the Black Friday crowds.

"I just like to support the local merchants. These are the people that learn my name and it's easy to bring things back," said Jane Swanson, a Valley Junction shopper.

They joined hundreds for “Small Business Saturday”, shopping at stores like Stamping Design/Heirlooms by Design in Valley Junction.

"This is the time when our customers are buying gifts for others," said Marj Huber, the store owner. 

Huber has owned her store for 19 years and employs ten people.

She depends on a strong holiday season and customers appreciating the personal service her store offers to keep the doors open.

"We have people coming in all the time saying the scrapbook stores in our town have all closed. It's really hard to compete with the big box stores," Huber told Channel 13 News.

Across the street, Sara Davis saw her biggest crowds of the year as constant traffic flowed into her store, Sisters.

When it comes to running a small business, the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can equal up to two-thirds of annual sales.

"The fourth quarter is our biggest quarter. It's very important to the day to day goings year round," said Davis.

Her four employees didn't mind the extra traffic.

"It's great to see the mindset evolve. More people are thinking about shopping locally."

While customers are crucial to small businesses, statistics show that the businesses are just as important to our economy.

In Iowa, there are more than 260,000 small businesses.

They provide more than half of the state’s private sector jobs.