Published: Nov 23, 2012 5:34 PM EST
Updated: Nov 23, 2012 7:22 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Downtown Fort Myers is festive and filling up with shoppers, who are looking for an alternative to the crush of people at malls and shopping centers on this Black Friday. Downtown merchants are relying on having unique products.

"We have things that you absolutely will not find at the big box stores or the malls," said Margaret Miville, owner of Tea and Wine Loft at the Franklin Shops in downtown. "You will find a dress for a grandchild here, at the shops, that you will not find at Target."

Shoppers agree. 

"I like to see different things and I don't like being trampled at the Black Friday events," said Sheryl Webster, a North Fort Myers resident who came downtown Friday.

Others are aware that Small Business Saturday is coming on November 24th. People are encouraged to shop at small, locally-owned stores on that day.

"I know it is very important for the retailers. The small guys need us to spend, more so than the big guys," said another shopper who came Downtown.

Lynn Routhier of Enjewel told WINK News: "I know our loyal customers will come here and do some shopping. I feel we are going to have a good day. Yes, we are different than going to a big department store, but we have American-made and handmade items here."