Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday.
Those who have access to the Internet can learn all about the special day by typing in Small Business Saturday Central Illinois. The Heartland Partnership has information as well as a YouTube video about Small Business Saturday. There is also a Facebook page where consumers can get information and business owners can download free signs to promote the day.
The Heartland Partnership describes Small Business Saturday on their video as "a day to support the local businesses that create jobs and boost our regional economy."
In East Peoria, Chamber director Rick Swan said there is a collaborative effort between all area chambers to promote the event.
Swan stressed that Small Business Saturday does not take anything away from big businesses.
"The small business is the backbone of the community. In most chambers, the small business makes up most of the membership base," he said.
"The small business owner is your neighbor, a taxpayer, your friend. It's hard for them to go against the larger corporations," Swan said.
With that said, Swan added there is a place for everyone in the market.
"We're not against the big box," he said.
But for Small Business Saturday, the focus is not on the non-box, chain-type stores. Swan said those larger corporate stores are focused on for Black Friday.
"The smaller guy really gets pushed aside on that day," Swan said.
Small Business Saturday is also a way for people to become more aware of those locally owned and operated shops.
"We're trying to make people aware. There is a big campaign in the region. We're (promoting it) through Facebook, the website, American Express and local media," Swan said.
American Express is a founding partner of the event and sent doormats to the East Peoria Chamber to hand out to participating members. The doormats have the Small Business Saturday logo on them.
On Tuesday, East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus read a proclamation regarding Small Business Saturday.
It stated in part: "The City of East Peoria believes that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together; according to the United States Small Business Administration, there are currently 28 million small businesses in the United States. They represent more than 99 percent of American companies, create two-thirds of the net new jobs, and generate half of private gross domestic product. Small businesses employ half of the employees in the private sector in the United States, and 93 percent of U.S. consumers believe it's important to support the local small businesses that they value in their community. Eighty-nine percent agree that locally-owned, independent businesses contribute positively through taxes and jobs."
Page 2 of 2 - "You rely on the small business to be a part of the community. They're usually the ones that make up your Rotary and Kiwanis," Swan said.
Swan spoke of the small business owner as a survivor, saying they have made it through many industrial changes over time.
"That's how America was built .... by the small shop owners and it's carried through for 300 years," he said.
Fred Kraus, owner of Eysal's Coffee Roasters, 400 E. Washington St., in East Peoria, said he is participating in Small Business Saturday with the grand opening of his East Peoria Popcorn Co. He will offer free samples of popcorn varieties from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and free samples of flavored coffees. There will also be discounts on selected merchandise.
Don Bell, owner of East Peoria Jewelry and Trade, will participate in the event for the first time this year.
"I'm going to have a special rack out that holds about 800 DVD movies or games (Xbox 360, PS2). I'll be selling movies for a $1 a piece and Xbox 360 games for $5 apiece," Bell said.
Bell said with Costco moving in, he thinks he will see more people coming to his shop.
"There's a lot more traffic coming down the street I've never saw before. I've been trying to get this new showroom layout on the store. I'm going to try to grab some new customers."
East Peoria Jewelry and Trade, 213 E. Washington St., offers a plethora of merchandise including jewelry, electronics and audio.
The Rustic Junktion, 127 E. Washington St., is another place shoppers can go during Small Business Saturday.
Val Brandon, co-owner, said this is the first year they are promoting the event.
"It's quite popular on Facebook. We, of course always try to patronize small businesses, and now that we are one, it's even more important to us," Brandon said.
Rustic Junktion opened in East Peoria in March. Vintage, shabby, rustic and retro items are available at the shop.
"We have furniture, holiday, decorative items ... and a lot of repurposed items as well," Brandon said.
Refreshments and free gift wrap will be offered Saturday. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.