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Local businesses shine on Small Business Saturday
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
To celebrate Small Business Saturday, millions of Americans shopped locally today. Small business owners in Beaumont say they hope today raises awareness of what they have to offer.
Nina Marks created her dream job when she opened up French Vanilla Market three and a half months ago. She sells furniture and home dcor, and refurbishes furniture.
"I had old jobs that I dreaded every day having to get up and go to," said Marks. "This, I wake up every day and I always want to come to work, and I never want to leave and go home."
Marks says small businesses offer customers a more personal touch than large chain stores.
"When you come into a small business you have people who know you by name, they're used to seeing you, they get to know what you like and don't like," said Marks.
American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to celebrate small businesses across the country. The U.S. Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday in 2011. Shop owners on Calder Avenue say they hope it encourages people to shop locally not just on Saturday, but throughout the year.
"The money stays here," said Marks. "All of our money goes back into our local economy and we don't want the big businesses to take the money and put it into somewhere else."
Marks and other small business owners along Calder Avenue formed a group called "Shops On Calder."
"We're just kind of all working together trying to bring more people to our small businesses here in town," said Marks.
The Cathy Cook Jewelry Store, next door to French Vanilla Market, is a member of the group. The store manager, Cheryl Shuff, says small businesses prosper from working together.
"During the holiday season we'll be able to keep those customers from driving to Houston," said Shuff. "There's such unique stores all up and down Calder, and we just want to bring attention to them and say, 'don't go down the road. Who wants to drive and go into the crazy traffic? Drive down this beautiful road and keep your money local.'"
For those who would like to start a small business of their own, Marks has some advice.
"Definitely be ready to commit because it takes a lot of effort, and a lot of hours, but it's well worth it," said Marks.
"Shops on Calder" will be hosting a "Christmas on Calder" event Saturday, December 14, with food vendors, hot cocoa, and the chance to explore Calder's local businesses.