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Small Business Saturday takes on new meaning as local businesses fight to make it through the holidays

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL)- With Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the rearview mirror, the holiday shopping season is in full swing.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as "Small Business Saturday," a day dedicated to supporting our communities' local businesses. It was started 11 years ago by American Express to help small businesses after the 2009 recession.

It has been an uphill climb for many small businesses this year. COVID-19 caused many stores to shut down for two months in the Spring.

"We are kind of still trying to crawl our way back out of that," Owner of Main Street Exchange Tracy West said.

Down the street at Miss Wonderful Vintage, Owner Ann Eastman said she wasn't sure where to turn when the shut down hit, but her customers have stepped up to help her business pull through.

"The resurgence of customers and support was just incredible," she said. "We have been riding high."

Eastman said the constant curveballs have made her constantly adapt to meet consumers where they are. She launched a website and strengthened her social media presence.

In years past, Small Business Saturday has been among the busiest days of the year on Main Street in Cedar Falls.

After a tough year, both Eastman and West are hoping to cash in on the holiday spending to boost them into the new year.

"It is hard because some people are still not coming out to shop, and it is easy just to sit and shop on Amazon," West said. "It comes right to your door."

A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey found 43% of Americans plan to spend less on holiday shopping this year than last year.

It isn't all bad news. According to Union Bank, 74% of consumers in the United States feel an increased sense of responsibility to support their community this year.

More than half of the individuals say they have already increased how much they shop and spend at small businesses.

"It's important all the time, honestly," Eastman said. "Shop small year-round and not just on one day of the year."

According to Womply, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced around one in five American small businesses to close.

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Daniel Perreault

Reporter

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