Cities, towns promoting 'Small Business Saturday' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cities, towns promoting 'Small Business Saturday'


While most people are out seeking doorbusters at the big box stores, small businesses are also getting ready for the big holiday shopping season.

Mom and pop places said it takes some creativity to compete with the malls, but they've learned how to do it.

"You don't have to beat the crowds here. You just come in and shop," said Janice Briguglio, of Ciao Bella in Madison.

She said she was stocking her store for the holidays. Ready for the potential crowds this weekend, Ciao Bella sells women's clothing, designs and items shoppers say they can't find at the mall.

"Every time you come in, there's always something different here," said Lisa Debiase. "The prices are great, and it's local."

Ciao Bella is part of Madison's Love It Local Campaign. Red signs are in nearly every window and doorway along Boston Post Road - Madison's main shopping district.

The owner of Jolie Boutique helped launch the movement, banding the stores together to bring in business.

"If people have the perception that they actually have to spend more to buy locally, that's not necessarily true. Consumers nowadays are really watching their dollars, and they're trying to buy the best value. If they can buy something American made locally then it's a win-win for everybody."

While many are planning sales for Small Business Saturday, 30 percent at Ciao Bella for example - store owners say shopping local doesn't have to mean more money.

"You know, people have a perception that oh, boutique's are all expensive and I have things in my store for $8," said Briguglio. "It's not all about being expensive. I think it's the customer service and the personal feel that you get when you come and shop in a boutique."

And no matter the price, that personal feel is what keeps the loyal customers coming back.

"If something should go wrong, I can go back to them," said customer Mari Adler. "There's a personal piece to that you're not going to get in those other stores."

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said he was urging city residents to support local, small businesses during the holiday shopping season and signed a proclamation designating Nov. 24 as "Small Business Saturday" in Bridgeport.

Finch said small businesses are the backbone of the country and the glue that holds communities together. He says spending holiday shopping dollars on small businesses will boost the local economy.

In addition to Bridgeport, the Greater Norwich Area of Commerce launched a campaign in an attempt to keep some of that holiday shopping money flowing into the local economy.

The Norwich Bulletin reported Thursday that the city launched the weeklong program aimed at luring customers to one of more than a dozen local merchants from Lisbon to Montville and is even offering prizes for local shoppers.

According to the Norwich Bulletin, every participating business will hand out verification cards to people who bought goods locally through Nov. 30. The more cards that are received, the more entries a person will get for a Dec. 8 raffle, where that person may be eligible for a $1,000 prize.

For a list of participating businesses, click here.

Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.