COLUMBIA — Shoppers came to downtown Columbia to support local shops on Small Business Saturday, a program started by American Express to encourage people to bring their holiday shopping needs to small businesses.
"It’s not as busy," said Maggie Elliott, who stopped in Breeze on Ninth Street. "I can’t stand the mall right now. It’s so annoying."
Elliott said she purposely shopped downtown in support of Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was founded three years ago by American Express.
Some local businesses have said what separates them from the chain stores are their unique products and niche clientele bases, according to a previous Missourian article.
Mary Roberts, who stopped in at Calhoun's Accent Furnishings, said she didn’t go shopping on Black Friday because she had no specific gift ideas in mind.
Small businesses "always have unique things, so the ideas kind of pop out at me," Roberts said.
Roberts said while she has participated in supporting Small Business Saturday in other cities, this is the first time she experienced it in Columbia. She said she thinks people need to do everything they can to support the downtown so it doesn't lose its "local atmosphere."
Kent Anderson, owner of Kent’s Floral Gallery and Gifts, said he didn’t advertise Small Business Saturday, but he held a few more sales in honor of it and more people came into the store.
Ken Zadel, who spent some time browsing in BlueStem on Ninth Street, said he came out to shop after seeing an ad for Small Business Saturday on television. Like Roberts, Zadel said small businesses have unique products.
According to American Express' website, Small Business Saturday had more than 100 million participants nationwide last year.
Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.