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Elmwood Avenue stores gear up for Small Business Saturday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The idea of shopping local, both on Black Friday and the days leading up to Christmas, is a growing trend that started in Buffalo a few years ago. Nationally, some credit card companies offer incentives to spend money at local stores for Small Business Saturday.

Thin Ice Gift Shop in The Elmwood Village offers 90 percent locally-made items like jewelry, ceramics, ornaments, Buffalo-themed household decor. The shop's owner Therese Deutshlander told News 4 competing with big box chains on Black Friday has never been her goal.

We asked her what sort of shopper opts for Thin Ice, or other local stores on Black Friday.

"People who are more thoughtful about where their money goes, people who are more present in the moment and it's not just about a mad dash to get the best deal and biggest TV," Deutshlander said.

Thin Ice sees around a 30 percent spike in business around the holidays. Shopper Karen Herr of Blasdell usually heads to the mall or big box stores on Black Friday, but this year she tried something new.

"Normally we hit the Targets and the Walmarts, and this year I just wanted to do something a little hometown and come down here and see what the smaller shops have to offer," she said.

You can't get everything you need in just one place. Deutshlander said store owners on Elmwood Avenue make a point to refer shoppers down the street if they don't have what they're looking for.

She noticed the "shop local" trend really started picking up steam in the Queen City over the past four years. Small Business Saturday, which began nationally in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has only helped the momentum.

"Often times the stores will have wine or hot cocoa or cider, and as always we have free gift wrapping, we'll do little raffles, here we're going to have a photo both on Small Business Saturday."

Creating an experience inside the store apart from shopping she said, is one of the ways local stores work to set themselves apart during the mad dash of holiday shopping.

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