In its third year of organization, the campaign for holiday shoppers to set aside their time and money for small, locally-owned businesses on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend is a success, according to one of the Downstate Illinois promoters. Renee Charles, spokeswoman for the Heartland Partnership – a group which includes the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce – says a preliminary survey of merchants shows the drive is working.
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“More than 56 percent of them said they had more shoppers on Small Business Saturday this year than last year. More than 50 percent of those who responded to our survey said they had more shoppers on Small Business Saturday than Black Friday,” said Charles. Charles says the point of Small Business Saturday is not to attack national business or to criticize those who would be open, say, on Thanksgiving Day. "Seeing people spend again is what we really need to see, as we come out of a recessionary period,” she says. Rather, she adds, it’s to promote the idea of setting aside time and money for the small, locally-owned business, and perhaps for those businesses to find new, loyal customers.