Nationwide, Saturday saw the second annual "Small Business Saturday" encourage shoppers to shop and support their local small businesses rather than larger chain stores. Shore towns, including Manasquan and Spring Lake, were filled with supporters opening their wallets.
In Belmar, many businesses that were opened this past summer have since closed down. With "for rent" signs in several stores on Main Street, nothing was out of the ordinary for businesses during this fall day.
Moses Santino, part owner and manager of Belmar’s True Jersey shop said business had been steady, but they had not seen a spike in traffic due to "Small Business Saturday."
At the past Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, the company did some marketing inside Convention Hall and does business off its online store and at its Toms River store, as well. Additionally, they utilize social media marketing. They’re not worried about the recession.
“We started in a recession,” said another True Jersey part owner, Peter Perea.
In Manasquan, the vibe was different.
While the shops in Belmar saw average traffic, Manasquan was the opposite as many shoppers were getting their local shopping fix on Main Street.
Some store owners and workers credited "Shop Local Saturday" for the extra traffic. The town put out its own "Shop Local" campaign to encourage shoppers to support local businesses, according to Chantilly Too sales associate, Linda Bonaly.
“We have been very busy,” Bonaly said. “American Express is promoting it. If you spend $25 or more today you get $25 back (on your American Express card.) Several people have used their American Express.”
Dawn Furfaro of Manasquan was one of those people, as she and 9-year-old daughter Isabella were shopping at Chantilly Too and other Manasquan stores. They were on a mission to purchase Christmas decorations and birthday gifts.
“I’m using my card to save money. At this point anything helps,” Dawn Furfaro said. She also mentioned that she believes sometimes the sales at the big stores are not worth it and that shopping local is more personal.
The Spring Lake Business District was another area that was filled with shoppers throughout the day.
One store that was particularly flooded with them was Juli Mei, a boutique and facial spa on Third Avenue. The store carries many gift items including beauty and fashion brands.
“The holidays are always very busy. Overall, we have been much steadier and busier (this weekend),” said Juli Mei store owner Juli Scrabis.
Scrabis said a lot of people went into her store knowing about ‘Small Business Saturday,” and that about 30 percent of her business on this day was from it. To help increase sales, she is confident that Juli Mei’s new online store that's launching in the Spring, will contribute.
“We have cut back on advertising and are building an online store, set to launch in the spring,” Scrabis said. “People have asked us to open a store online and other stores.”
Like the Furfaros, Kayla Lung of Canton, Ohio also has an appreciation for shopping local. She and her family are staying in Spring Lake concluding a Thanksgiving visit with her family in New Jersey. She was enjoying shopping Spring Lake’s Business District.
“I prefer to shop local if I can. The stuff is different and more unique,” said the 20-year-old student.