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      Small Business Saturday a big deal for local shops

      A cashier finalizes a sale at American Shoe on High Street Saturday. Small business owners say Small Business Saturday brought a marked increase in sales.

      Downtown shop owners told KRCG 13 this year's Small Business Saturday brought them a major weekend sales boost.

      Nikki Payne, who owns The Snob Shop Exchange, said her store had processed more than 100 checkouts before 1:00 Saturday afternoon, far more than they normally would on a Saturday. She said Small Business Saturday is a big help for locally-owned businesses.

      "It brings a lot of people to the downtown area and see businesses that they didn't know existed," she said.

      Payne said she gets customers every day who have not been able to come to downtown Jefferson City and are unaware of new businesses in that area.

      Several shoppers told KRCG 13 the prospects of better customer service and getting to support the local economy were the biggest reasons they decide to patronize small businesses. Dawn Sweazea and two of her friends had just spent some time at American Shoe on High Street. She said shopping local let her kill two birds with one stone.

      "I think it's important to support our local community and to patronize our local merchants, and I think it's a good opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done," she said.

      Sweazea said she liked the unique products small businesses often carry that national chains do not. She also said she felt service was friendlier at locally-owned stores. Jefferson City residents Michele Caywood and her daughter, Victoria, both said they enjoyed the personalized service they get at local shops.

      Small Business Saturday started in 2010. According to the Small Business Administration, some 70 million shoppers spent more than $5.5 billion nationwide during last year's event. Payne and Tolson's Drug owner Cameron Schulte said the event is a big help for shops in Jefferson City.

      "It's definitely a little bit busier, which is always good," Schulte said. "We try to get people in the store and downtown and see what's going on down here."