CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — There are less than 30 days until Christmas. Sales are everywhere, and Saturday is one of the biggest days for small businesses.
Coventry Village is a neighborhood drowning in character. An aroma of fresh food lingers in the air, with sounds of "Hellos" from familiar faces echoing in the streets.
The foundation of it all? Small businesses.
"It has so much personality here," Mallory Kent executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, said. "We have over 50 businesses on the street."
Calling the neighborhood home for nearly 40 years is Mac's Backs-Books. Through the windows, it’s a cozy, quaint bookstore; inside, hopeful owner Suzanne DeGaetano is excited for another year of Christmas shopping.
"We do what we love to do, which is hand-sell books," DeGaetano told us.
During Black Friday, on the evening before Small Business Saturday, DeGaetano reminded Clevelanders why shopping local is vital.
"In the long run, if people are not coming out to the physical stores and supporting us, you're going to see a lot of empty storefronts," she explained. "No one wants to see empty storefronts, and that's what happens when people shop online."
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Cyber Monday is also just around the corner, but online deals are already full-speed ahead.
"I do expect, during the holiday shopping season, for online shopping to take a huge bite out of overall sales,” Trae Dodge, Smart Shopping Expert at Truetrae.com, said.
Bodge recommends shoppers work in order, from more specific big items down to stocking stuffers, while also being mindful of potential shipping delays.
"Get those items on the earlier side," he added. "If you do start getting tight on time, order online and pick-up curbside."
He also echoed Degaetano's message.
"I urge shoppers to allot some of their budget to small businesses," he admitted.
The consumer price index is up 6.2%, according to Bodge, who also says it's even more important for shoppers to spend a few extra minutes looking for deals and coupons.