FORT PIERCE, Fla. — “I call it my labor of love, because I love talking to people,” said Becky Demanuel, owner of Chic and Shore Things in Fort Pierce. “I love brining some new and pretty things into people’s homes.”
She opened the store six years ago.
“I can’t imagine not having it,” Demanuel said.
Customers’ shopping habits have changed.
“The online shopping kills us little businesses,” Demanuel said.
The city of Fort Pierce thought of something different: A Small Business Saturday Passport, with the chance of winning around $1,500. The passport can be picked up at any participating store. You need to get eight stamps from local stores for a chance to win.
The idea was a full success last year.
“Last year was probably 50 percent larger as far as the amount of traffic that came down for that day,” Deanglo said.
For some shoppers, local shopping remains king.
“If I can, I definitely try and support local,” said Natalie Angelos.
“People still want to get out and with their friends and family and walk around and have a more of an experience,” said Lisa Potochney.
Black Friday is not a great day for local businesses, with most customers going to big-box stores. Several stores were closed on Friday in Fort Pierce. Store owners say they’re gearing up for Saturday and know why people still come to local stores.
“People are looking for unique things that you can’t find in big stores,” Deangelo said.
According to American Express, 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small store remains in the local community.
“I feel good about supporting the local economy,” Potochney said.