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Small shops get their shot at holiday sales on Small Business Saturday
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Aimee Slaick shops with her daughter Kailyn Slaick at District 101 Wearhouse in Gainesville. The Slaicks live in Nashville but were back in town for the holidays, and wanted to participate in Small Business Saturday on the square. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Everyone knows Black Friday is dominated by the name brand big-box retail titans. But Saturday is for the little guy, when Mom and Pop clothing stores, tiny boutiques and unique artisan shops welcome customers on Small Business Saturday.

Several such small businesses on the Gainesville Square took part Saturday, providing deals and discounts to draw customers.

“We had people waiting on the street when we opened on Black Friday,” said J.R. Criders Manager Charlie Whitmire. He explained they use the whole weekend, not just Friday or Saturday, to offer big bargains.

Saturday, J.R. Criders offered 20 percent off merchandise throughout the store. But not 24 hours before, hordes of shoppers found deals for up to 60 percent off.

“We just like to support our local community, and we like to be supported,” Whitmire said.

Jessica Drexler, manager of District 101 Warehouse, agreed with Whitmire, saying events like Saturday’s are a great way for residents to support local businesses.

“This is a time where you can spend your money where you live, and give local people a job and help them,” she said.

Drexler said the weekend deals are more treat than marketing ploy.

“For local small shops like us, the sales are more a thank you for our customers and incentives to come in,” she said.

She said when the store opened nearly four years ago, they weren’t sure if they could survive. But over the years, they have built a base of regular customers who keep coming back.

“They have supported us enough for us to stay. So this is our way of giving back,” she said.