TIPTON, Iowa - Black Friday and Gray Thursday brought a frenzy of shoppers to big retail stores across the U.S. The chaos resulted in record breaking results for stores like Walmart. But while consumers consumed big business, small towns and smaller stores were left lonely.
"On Friday, it was pretty slow in town, here," said Liz Hinkhouse, owner of Tipton's Country Spa & Gift Boutique.
In an effort to speed things up, Tipton embraced Small Business Saturday for the first time this year. Local shops and restaurants were encouraged to offer their goods and services at enticing prices to get people in the door.
Shop keepers said it worked.
"The Tipton community has been very, very supportive, today. We've been very, very busy," said Hinkhouse.
"Great for me today, having a good day. A lot of people are coming through, a lot of people buying too," said Diana Zach, owner of the Among Friends gift shop.
Nationally, Small Business Saturday has put up some good numbers. In fact, last year American Express reports millions of consumers spent $5.5 billion at small independent shops and restaurants.
"For us smaller businesses it's been really nice, today" said Hinkhouse.
Shoppers said while the deals were great, it was the idea of supporting local business, and the greater community, that really got them buying.
"We like to spend as much here as we can... Because the money stays here in Tipton and we certainly like to have the business local," said Lorna Fletcher, from Tipton.
"It's nice to have these small businesses in our community. You don't have to leave town to find things that you want. If you don't support them, they're not going to be here," said Laura Wethington, also from Tipton.
Small Business Saturday started in 2010. It was officially recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2011. In 2012, American Express reports consumer awareness of the shopping day reached 67%.