Small Business Saturday Brings Shoppers To Local Shops

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The hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season
was left to the local small businesses on Saturday as customers turned out to support the shops often owned by their friends and neighbors. 

Small Business Saturday came on the scene in 2010 as the local alternative to the big retailers on Black Friday. It gives shoppers added motivation to visit their local shops and businesses and support the independent retailers. Many of those local businesses are also the ones that are there to help and support community activities throughout the year. Small Business Saturday is a chance to show appreciation to those businesses.

"So far people are flowing in," said Passion Works Studio employee Mallory Valentour on Saturday morning. Passion Works Studio and its customers were taking part in the Small Business Saturday promotion, offering a discount on all items in the store.

While also a retail store, Passion Works offers something else that is unique in that the artwork is make by those with disabilities.

"Not a lot of small businesses provide programming for those with disabilities. It is unique to Passion Works to provide the services and the retail store," said Valentour.

"We have had a lot of loyal shoppers yesterday and today," said Laurel Mountain Gifts owner Pam Rollins.

While the local shops may not offer the same deep discounts as the big box stores, they offer their customers something those retailers often cannot.

"Each store in Athens has a different personality or ambiance," said Rollins. "Customer services is also important and our loyal customers know we offer complementary gift wrapping."

Many of the shoppers in Mountain Laurel Gifts on Saturday were making holiday purchases for friends and family members. Each shop offers it's unique gift items, from leather items and jewelry at Mountain Laurel Gifts to art work and handcrafted items at Passion Works Studio.

"This is one of my favorite stores," said Mountain Laurel Gifts shopper Kelly Coates who was looking for Christmas gifts for friends. "I am a big proponent of shopping locally and small business."