FORT MYERS, Fla.- There's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now, a new shopping day sandwiched in between. Small Business Saturday is aimed at spurring holiday sales for local businesses struggling to survive amidst tough economic times.
The first ever Small Business Saturday is hoping to remind consumers to support the little guys, often lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.
"The big stores are literally just swallowing up all the retail trade, in some cases. If we stand a chance, we're going to need the support of the locals," The Cheshire Cat Toy Store owner Mary Dondero said Saturday.
More than one-million Facebook users are pledging their support of the new shopping holiday. Folks at The Cheshire Cat in Bell Tower report strong sales so far, and hope consumers stay loyal to local retailers long after Small Business Saturday ends.
"They get so caught up in all the advertising and they don't even know we're here sometimes. Even though we've been around for 20 years, they are just discovering us. So this gives them a reason to come in," Dondero said.
American Express is promoting the shopping day- offering a $25 dollar credit to 100,000 of it's cardholders who spend money with independent merchants today.
"I think it's amazing. I think it's great. I love small local businesses. I just feel like you get a much better shopping experience. If you really need something people will go over the top to help you find it," shopper Sara Gray said Saturday.
Trini Salon & Spa is brand-new to Bell Tower. They hope shoppers out today will continue to spend at small businesses taking a hit in sales since the recession.
"My belief is if you don't do anything about it, it won't get any better. Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to get out there and do something about it," Trini owner Chris Gehring said Saturday.
10,000 small business owners were also awarded $100 worth of free Facebook ads for participating in the first ever Small Business Saturday.