New small business trend hits Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

There is a new approach businesses in the Valley are taking to compete with the larger stores.

Long lines wrapped around Central Valley stores on Black Friday... Mobs of people looking for the best deals in town.

But every year that leaves out many local mom and pop shops which is why this year 'Small Business Saturday' was created to motivate people to buy local.

"When people get tired of the crowds and stuff they'll come down here to the Tower," said Robert Spickard who owns the Dragon's Treasure.

Spickard's shop specializes in rare, handmade jewelry and mystical paintings… unique items he said has kept him in business for 20-years. "It's personalized service which is difficult for the large places to give you. I mean, that's just the fact of life…they have to rush people through, rush people out, there's huge crowds," he said.

Most small businesses cannot compete with the millions of dollars spent on advertising. So they rely on the local chamber of commerce or marketing specialists to help lure people in.

"We want people to come down and shop in old town so we put on free carriage rides. This year it's going to be every Saturday and Sunday from one to four," said Carole Lester, director of events for the Business Organization of Old Town Clovis.

Santa volunteered his time away from the North Pole to help Lester.

Several sponsors ponied up the $500 needed to operate the carriage rides each day.

Rosetta Ansiel said her Christian themed items keep customers coming back to Ivy and Lace in Old Town each year. "It's different, unusual things. I get people saying, 'Well, I'll be back.' And that's what we like to hear. That they'll be back, that they feel welcome."

"I'm just not one for big stores. I like the personal interaction," Customer Rita Kelley said.

Small business owners hope a Christmas parade planned in Old Town and carolers on the streets of the Tower District will also lead to financial growth this holiday season.

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