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Small Business Saturday a hit for local retailers

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In recent years the “Black Friday” shopping phenomenon has transitioned into a nearly five-day event, beginning on Thanksgiving evening and ending on Cyber Monday.

For more than two decades – at least – Angelic Gardner and her family have stuck to their Black Friday shopping ritual. This means fueling up on Starbucks to “stay energized” and hitting nearly every store in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Hermitage in search of discounts on the year’s hottest gadgets, clothing and toys.

“You have to be over 18-years-old in our family to go. This year we went out at 8 p.m. on Thursday and didn’t finish our shopping until after 11 p.m. Friday night. It was a marathon,” she said of their journey which included stops at Lebanon Premium Outlets, Target and Kohl’s. “I liked it better when the stores didn’t open until after midnight on Thanksgiving. Back then it was only the serious shoppers who came out.”

Although she did not participate in Black Friday this year, Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce CEO Sue Vanatta said that she thoroughly supports Small Business Saturday, which places emphasis on shopping locally and not only in chain retail stores.

“Small Business Saturday is good because it keeps the tax dollars here in Wilson County. If you track sales tax revenue for each November you see the numbers go up where people are staying at home,” she said.

Natalie Baenziger of Crystal Couture said that on Small Business Saturday they doubled their amount of sales from 2012. “We did racks out front and I think that intrigued a lot of people, as far as foot traffic,” she said. “Everybody is looking for something different – and we are a one-stop shop.”

Baenziger credited extended store hours with the increase in shoppers. “During the holidays we are open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and so we caught a lot of afternoon shoppers this year,” she said.

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