Shoppers focused their attention and purchasing power on local retailers across the state over the weekend as merchants put out welcome mats for Small Business Saturday.
Business owners had hopes of attracting buyers in the mood to plunk down some cash somewhere other than big box stores or in cyberspace. Shoppers were treated to substantial discounts, refreshments, demonstrations, giveaways and free gift wrapping at some locations.
The nationwide campaign — held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — was launched by American Express in 2010 in an effort to bring more holiday shopping to small businesses, many of which were hurting from the recession. Last year, small business owners generated an estimated $15.4 billion in sales on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express.
Kristina Starr, the owner of Rocket Century — a vintage art and furniture seller in St. Louis — said she has seen an increase in customers after Thanksgiving every year in the more than five years she has had a storefront on South Grand.
“There does seem to be a true movement for people to support businesses in their community,” Starr said.