FORT MYERS, Fla. - The season of shopping continues with Small Business Saturday. Wedged between two of the busiest shopping days of the year, the day encourages consumers to spend their money locally.
30-years-ago Jennifer Williams took a gamble when she opened Jennifer's Boutique at the intersection of McGregor and Cypress Lake in south Fort Myers. Three decades later and she's still going strong, despite major changes in the industry.
"The way people shop has changed, there's a lot more to choose from," Williams said.
The long lines and crowded stores during Black Friday have become common place. But Williams remembers a time when people spent their money locally, when more small business owners like herself were able to stay in business. Williams says she feels like a "dying breed."
That struggle is the inspiration behind Small Business Saturday. Which was created three years ago by American Express. It focuses on independently owned stores.
"What we sell is quality and that's something that really can't be duplicated," Williams said, "and we sell service. We have a lot of customers who want personal attention, want special gift wrapping."
Up the road in downtown Fort Myers, the neighborhood is filled with local shops and restaurants. And that's why Kathy Simmons and her husband Gary decided to open their store, Charme, here recently.
"I get a sense from residents that they're so proud that this is their beautiful town again and they come out to support us," Simmons said.
If you haven't had enough shopping days, wouldn't you know there's another one coming up. Cyber Monday features deals online and Americans are expected to spend up to $1.5 billion on that day alone.