RENO, Nev. (KOLO) In downtown Reno, the Basement is filled with locally-owned small businesses and last Saturday, they were filled with customers doing their holiday shopping.
"We did amazing," says Michelle Czarka, the owner of Pantry Products, which sells skin and body care products. "The store was packed. The Basement was packed. It was our biggest day last year and this year, we're up 40 percent of what we did last year.
Now, she is hoping to remind people that -- even though Small Business Saturday is over -- she'd still like it if people would keep her store and other locally-owned businesses in mind as they continue their holiday shopping over the next few weeks. She plans to rely on social media and word of mouth to get out the word. Also, with all the prepackaged gift sets in the store, she is hoping people who dropped by during Small Business Saturday will remember what is easily available at her store and come back.
Hilary Jones spent part of her day shopping at the Basement and says it's the kind of experience you can't get at chain stores or ordering gifts online.
"So many times, it's just easy to order things online, but it's so much more fun to interact with the owners and the people and get to know about the products," says Jones.
Down the hall, Krysta Bea Jackson, owner of Sugar Love Chocolates, says she also had a successful Small Business Saturday at the Basement and wants people to know that she appreciates their business. She says every time someone chooses to shop local, they are helping their community.
"Every dollar you spend is voting for the type of community you want to live in," says Jackson. "So every time you support my dream, I get to support my employees' dreams."
After the overwhelming turnout over the weekend, both business owners believe they have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season and they're looking forward to more customers making an effort to support local businesses.
"We're all your friends and neighbors and so anyone can choose to go to Target, e-tailers and put money in some billionaire's pocket, but when you shop local you're making my dreams come true, my employees' dreams come true," says Czarka. "And so for folks to think about the little guys and to choose to support them over maybe getting a price somewhere else, it means a bunch."