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Small Business Saturday promotes local commerce

While some national retailers are getting blasted for ignoring tradition by opening their doors for holiday shopping on Thanksgiving, some locally-based groups are taking a different tact.

Mayor Brown and a group of city merchants gathered Wednesday to promote "Small Business Saturday."

Initially promoted by American Express, the collective promotion of the first Saturday of the holiday-shopping season has proven to be a boost for locally-based businesses. That's the view of Danielle Webb, of Allen Street Dress Shop.

Last year's event brought in crowds "that in 30 years of business I had not seen. We were crowded. We were," Webb said.

"I can't say enough about it. It keeps us going. "

Bob Cohen of United Men's Fashions, a retail fixture on Bailey Avenue since 1929, says there's significant advantages to spending local.

"When you go to the big-box stores, they'll have some created specials that were purchased especially to be put on sale. Not always the greatest deal in the world," Cohen said.

"Whereas with us, we're in it 365 days a year. We're constantly focused on the customer and providing the best value and service. So, at the end of the day, we're the best deal."