UPDATE 11/24/2012@11:45 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After the hustle and bustle of Black Friday died down, some consumers chose a very different shopping experience by celebrating "Small Business Saturday."
The effort pushes people to patronize mom-and-pop shops in their town, and many people in South Charleston chose to join the movement.
"I think it's nicer in a hometown to not see everything commercialized because there is that [sense] of family," Chris Lyle said as he shopped at the South Charleston Antique Mall.
South Charleston has seen a tremendous boom in small business over the past couple of years. City managers say 100 businesses have opened since 2010, and only three of them have had to shut their doors.
Business recruiter Bob Anderson credits the success to a new tax break for small businesses implemented two years ago. He also says the city works to support small businesses through publicity and events, and will continue to do so.
"The future for small business in South Charleston is very bright," he said.
City managers say you can expect to see two more businesses open in South Charleston soon. An international deli/market and a women's consignment shop are slated to come in the next few months.
There's a big push to get holiday spenders out to main streets all around the region.
Small business owners like Brooke Elswick-Robinson are trying to bring that downtown shopping experience back to places like Ashland. And Christmas time is just the time to do it.
“This is what gets us through after the first of the year when everyone's run out of money,” Elswick-Robinson said.
Her jewelry and gift shop, Holly B's, is one of many taking part in Small Business Saturday.
They'll offer special discounts to shoppers this Saturday to try and get them to trade the shopping mall for this small town.
“It's kind of been a tough road so we just kind of market our own avenue and do the best that we can to let people know that we're here,” Elswick-Robinson said. “That we are downtown.”
Just a few blocks over, Jamie Anderson is gearing up for similar deals at the Pink Pineapple.
“This time of year is absolutely crucial,” Anderson said.
She says shopping local does more than help out the business owners -- it's part of local culture.
“It's the crux of our community,” Anderson said. “Shopping downtown is just part of living in a small town. And the more you can shop at small businesses, the better.”
Shopper Louise Shytle says hitting Main Street helps energize the community.
“I think it's a hometown spirit issue,” Shytle said.
And also helps out the economy.
“Keep the money at home,” Shytle said. “Certainly it promotes your community. And the bigger businesses in our town depend on that, too.”
Back at Holly B's, Brooke says it's easy for them to figure out what shoppers want.
“We're a bunch of women,” Elswick-Robinson said. “We love to shop ourselves."
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