Local Retailers Profit from 'Small Business Saturday'

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One day after Black Friday, small businesses are trying to keep up the momentum. One local group is implementing a new initiative to bring shoppers downtown.

Kevin Schwitters is spending his money far away from Rockford's big box stores. Instead, the local shopper is not only giving to his family, but back to the community in which he grew up.

"You can get things at these stores that are a little more unique," said Schwitters. "And you go to a chain store and you're getting things that are available all over the country.But coming to a store like this and you get something that's special, something that's unique. And you couldn't find anywhere else in the area."

Schwitters is taking part in a national campaign aimed at buying local. It's called "Small Business Saturday," a day that nearly 40 percent of independent retailers count on to stay in the black.

"When you give money to someone that owns a local business here, they're probably going to spend it at another local business," said Schwitters. "It keeps the money in town instead of just funneling it out to owners all over the country of those big chain stores and things. I feel a little bit better about that. I think it's healthier for our economy."

A coalition of downtown businesses is hoping to carry the momentum throughout the holidays. More than a dozen shops are staying open extra hours on Saturdays to encourage more people to buy local.

"There's something about Christmas in the city," said Doc Slafkosky, owner of the downtown business J.R. Kortman. "Malls are one thing. Something about being outside, going from place to place, and bundling up. And the architecture on buildings, and things that just make for a much more I think exciting environment."

An exciting environment that retailers hope will stretch past the holidays.

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