Small businesses prepare to compete on Black Friday - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Small businesses prepare to compete on Black Friday

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Customers waiting in line for hours, even days before Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. As big retailers attract their customers with tons of discounts and sales, their smaller competitors are trying to keep the pace.

"We're actually taking advantage of Black Friday all week long," said Susy Allen, owner of Learning Express Toys in Evans. "We don't believe in getting up early on Black Friday, so we're actually starting our 20 percent off Thanksgiving Sale today."

Just this week Allen relocated her toy store to a shopping center in Evans. Learning Express Toys now sits in between major chain stores like Ross and Target.

"When we were first hoping to open a Learning Express store, they just didn't have a place available in Mullings Crossing yet, so we were across the street, hoping it would be just as wonderful. Unfortunately we were very lonely over there," Allen said.

Learning Express Toys is one of hundreds of small businesses in the area; what Augusta's Small Business Development Center calls a vital asset to the community.

"Research shows that small businesses are actually the backbone to our economy," said Yvonne Gentry, a coordinator with SBDC. "As we continue to provide opportunities to small businesses, in addition to that, we decrease unemployment and increase our economic development."

Small business owners say their stores have a unique advantage over their larger competitors.

"We get a chance to work with independent people who come up with their own ideas," Allen said. "We get a chance to listen to our customers more, and carry more of the items that they like for us to carry. Plus our customer service can't be beat."

And even thought smaller stores are getting beat in business, they'll continue to reap the benefits of the crowds their larger competitors bring in.

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