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Small Biz Saturday Puts Focus on Local Illinois' Stores

Locally-owned shops across Illinois will be in the spotlight for this weekend's Small Business Saturday.
Locally-owned shops across Illinois will be in the spotlight for this weekend's Small Business Saturday.
November 27, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Once the hype of Black Friday settles, thousands of locally-owned shops, bookstores and restaurants will take the spotlight tomorrow for Small Business Saturday. In Illinois, smaller stores are hoping they will benefit from the increased attention.

Sherneka Cagle, director of events with the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, says small businesses make up about half of Illinois' private workforce, but they also provide other unique benefits.

"About $70 out of $100 that's spent at a small business goes back into the Peoria community," says Cagle. "And then those are also the business that when your Girls Scouts need a sponsor, those are the businesses we tend to reach out to."

According to the federal Small Business Administration, smaller locally-owned businesses provide 2.4 million jobs in Illinois. And for shoppers on Small Business Saturday, many of those retail stores will be offering special sales.

Tony Malandra, senior media manager for the National Federation of Independent Business, says many smaller retailers have a tough time competing with bigger stores because government tax breaks tend to favor the big boxes. But Malandra says small businesses play an important and unique role in the American economy.

"Small business is the largest employer group in this nation, it is where your son and daughter started, it's where you probably started your first job," says Malandra. "Not only that, they're your neighbors, they're the people that will take a chance with you."

Nationally, small businesses make up about 40 percent of U.S. retail jobs and employ about 8 million people.

As for this weekend's Small Business Saturday in Peoria, Cagle says 10 local shops are participating in a scavenger hunt to help get customers interested in stores they may not have visited before. She says it's a good way to get people out in the community instead of doing all their shopping online.

"There's something to be said about being out with the crowd," says Cagle. "Something to be said about supporting your community and actually getting you out there, maybe getting you into the holiday or the shopping spirit."

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL