Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Big-box stores seem to rule on Black Friday, but on Small Business Saturday local stores are put in the spotlight. Seven years ago, American Express created Small Business Saturday to help local shops get more customers during the busy holiday season.
"This is the day that all small businesses shine," said Kelly Tabor, co-owner of Good for the Sole in Five Points.
These are the shops who come with a mascot, like the 9-year-old Irish Setter who camps out on the floor at 2G's.
"It's funny," said Carol Hilton, the manager of 2G's, "people come in, they'll say hi to Maggie before they say hi to us!"
They are also the shops that grew from nothing, like Loose Lucy's.
"This business began selling out of the back of a van in a Grateful Dead parking lot," said Don McCallister, one of the owners of Loose Lucy's.
They are also shops that were made by taking a chance, like Good for the Sole.
"One day my sister called up and she said, 'there's a shoe store for sale in Columbia, South Carolina, do you want to buy it with me?' and I said, 'Sure,'" said Kelly Tabor, co-owner of Good for the Sole.
These are the businesses run by people in the community.
"We're your friends, we're your neighbors, old school mates," Tabor said, "the people that sit by you during church."
They also face the same hardships.
"We've just had one thing after another, with the hurricanes and the floods," Hilton said, "it's hit our economy."
An economy that those in Columbia share.
"And when you shop with us," Tabor said, "the money that we make goes right back into the community."
Most important to these shop owners and managers, are the relationships built with hometown customers.
"Our customers are like family to us, truthfully," McCallister said.
"This is our home, you know, we've put our blood sweat and tears into the business," Hilton said.
"And so Small Business Saturday means a lot to us," McCallister said. "It's a wonderful time for people to come out and support these businesses, there's not that many of them left."
So as the holiday season rolls around, the day is a reminder to remember your neighbors' shops, right down the street.