Small Business Saturday hopes to attract shoppers

FRESNO, Calif.

As crowds storm the big retail stores for Black Friday deals, Mom-and-Pop shops are also trying to cash in.

"What we've done in response is we're running a store-wide sale of 20 percent off on any merchandise today as we step into the last 23 days of Christmas shopping," Fresno business owner Cy Cerro said.

Cerro owns the Posh Fresno store at Fig Garden Village in Northwest Fresno. He says its hard competing with the big retailers.

"It's difficult to compete when someone opens up their store at 12 o clock midnight, we're usually at home resting," he said.

Small shops now have a day dedicated to spotlight their sales, dubbed Small Business Saturday.

American Express started the campaign last year to get people to shop local, and more than two million people on Facebook have already pledged to shop local over the weekend.

"You might not have that super, duper sale, but I think they're doing a better job now, kind of competing with those stores and offering those special deals," shopper Gurdeep He'Bert said.

Some shoppers say they prefer the smaller stores because they get better customer service and don't have to wait in long lines.

"She will help put together the perfect outfit and look, in my case the grandkids and say, oh I think this will be great and you can accessorize with this, where you go to most the other stores, I mean there's nobody really helping you do that," Marsha Easley of Fowler said.

Fresno state marketing professor Bill Rice applauds the strategy but doubts many bargain hunters will flood locally owned stores.

"Money touches our heart. When somebody says, 'hey man you can get a $500 TV set for $200', you've got my attention, if I tell you, 'hey, buy from the local business person because you help the community', that's much lower down on my motivational level," he said.

Still, local businesses say they will take any help they can get and hopes Small Business Saturday produces some big profits.

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