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Downtown South Bend encourages shoppers to Shop Small

Local businesses rolled out the red carpet for Small Business Saturday offering special deals to shoppers encouraging them to shop local.

Where you can get the best deal is typically the deciding factor when it comes to holiday purchases but what takes the least out of your wallet could be costing the community.

When shopping at Michiana Brewer’s Supply in Downtown South Bend, you’re family.

“I’m there backing them 100-percent even if it means I have to make a quick weekend run to their house to help them out, I’ll do it,” said owner Aaron Goldstein.

Still, Goldstein says many shoppers give up that one of a kind support for a better deal.

“That’s pretty much my biggest competitor is big online corporations,” said Goldstein.

However, Executive Director of Downtown South Bend Aaron Perri says that “deal” comes at a cost to the community.

“When you spend a dollar local approximately 68 cents of that dollar stays here in the local economy,” said Perri.

That’s about three times the amount than when you spend at a national retailer.

“Shopping local is really a chance to support our neighbors our friends, those entrepreneurs,” said Perri.

So Downtown South Bend invited the city’s businesses to show off what they have to offer on Saturday.

Perri says he wants shoppers to get excited about shopping locally, especially because of the employment opportunities that Michiana businesses provide the community.

“Small local businesses make up the majority of employers here in St. Joseph County,” said Perri.

One of those businesses is the South Bend Chocolate Café.

“Our company alone supports over 400 local jobs,” said store manager Sherri Huffer.

Jobs filled by those who know Michiana best, like Huffer.

“I’ve only been here a year and a half at this store but I’ve been a customer here since the time the store opened. It’s very important to me to shop local, which I think it should be with our community as well,” said Huffer.

Perri says you don’t have to make a drastic change to make a difference.

“If everyone would shift ten percent of their buying habits towards local, away from some of the national retailers an additional $250 million plus would be poured into the local economy,” said Perri.

He encourages shoppers to support neighbors, friends, and family by shopping locally year round.

“These stores are out there 365 days a year so I encourage people to check out where they can shop local and support their neighbors and friends,” said Perri.

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