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Small Business Saturday Helps Local Shops Compete with Online Sellers

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Stores everywhere are gearing up for Black Friday shoppers, but the spending doesn’t stop this weekend as local businesses get ready for small business Saturday.

Small business Saturday was started by American Express. The credit card company launched the campaign in 2010 as small businesses were hurting from the recession. The tradition carries on year after year and continues to bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

“I feel like shopping local is kind of like a big buzz word, but it really does help families like mine and my business partners and other co-owners and things like that. It helps us grow our business and create jobs in the community,” Fontenelle Supply Co. Co-Owner Adam Tweedy said.

Businesses all over Des Moines say Small Business Saturday helps bring in customers even when they can’t provide any discounts. Like Fontenelle Supply Company in East Village, a men’s boutique that sells men’s accessories and clothing. They are known for their custom leather bags, wallets, purses and belts and their ability to manufacture leather items on the spot.

Small businesses, like Fontenelle, are at a disadvantage when it comes to online selling in competition with the big box stores.

“So it’s really up to us to create a great environment and really good customer service, have really friendly exchange and refund policies. There are ways that we can be competitive and there’s ways that we have an edge over online and big box for the holidays. It’s just a more personal experience. You get better products at the end of the day, I think. Better overall experience on the holidays,” Tweedy said.

According to American Express, since Small Business Saturday started, U.S. customers have reported spending an estimated total of 85 billion dollars at independent retailers and restaurants. That’s 85 billion dollars in just 8 days alone, each Small Business Saturday since 2010.

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