Local businesses see strong start to holiday shopping season

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Black Friday has come and gone, and now it’s time for people to cash in on big deals today as Cyber Monday begins.

But local businesses did well over the weekend.

Even though bigger stores can do bigger deals, small businesses see strong community support.

There was a Small Business Saturday crawl for more than a dozen businesses.

It wasn’t as crazy as Black Friday, but people still got to catch some local deals around Augusta.

Shoppers we spoke to say it’s a good chance to support the community and find things you might not be able to at big retail stores.

“You’re literally supporting people’s livelihood, people’s dreams. And you’re helping take care of your community,” said business owner Jeana Berrios.

Shopper Colleen Lederer said: “This is just amazing to go in and see the unique crafts and all the stuff that you’re not going to find in a big box store or something. This is just so personal.”

We also talked to a few locally owned businesses like CommuniGraphics in North Augusta on Black Friday.

“We always like to support locals. CommuniGraphics is one of our favorite places to support,” said shopper Kristin Bodkin.

Bodkin only shops locally on Black Friday.

Her day began at CommuniGraphics in North Augusta, and CommuniGraphics says supporting locals, keeps money local.

Stephanie Linarez, CommuniGraphics sales assistant manager, said: “When you go shop in a big box store, you’re helping big companies that don’t help your community. When you come to shop at CommuniGraphics, you’re helping a business that helps back towards the community.”

CommuniGraphics gains the most traffic at lunchtime.

Escape Outdoors and The Swank Company in Martinez looked to get customers as soon as their doors opened.

Carson Wiley, manager of Escape Outdoors, said: “We have people camping out. They started at three a.m. yesterday.”

In the morning, both stores had more than 100 people ready to go before doors even opened, numbers which shocked The Swank Company.

Hannah Bassali, owner of The Swank Company, said: “I do think it was the most people in line we’ve ever had. I think something that’s so great about shopping locally on Black Friday is it creates so many memories. The first people in our lines have been the first people online for the past five years.”

Wiley said: “Instead of a big box retailer that can do higher clearance, higher discounts, and it kind of leaves some local businesses in the dust but for us, we have a good community around us.”

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