BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The season of giving is here and some shoppers in the ArkLaTex are being surprised with a gift of their own.
“I was sort of shocked,” said Susan Wilton. “Like, real shocked.”
Bossier Chamber of Commerce representatives surprised Wilton Saturday by paying for a portion of her purchase at Rosewood Home Market.
Chamber members surprised shoppers throughout the parish proving it pays to shop small. Local banks donated $700 to reward people for keeping their cash in the community.
“These are the bread and butter of our community,” said Jessica Hemingway, Bossier Chamber of Commerce. “More than 80 percent of our members are small businesses. Probably more than 80 percent of all businesses in Bossier are small businesses. And so, it’s just really important to our local economy. It makes a larger impact when you shop small.”
Merchants like Simply Chic Boutique said they’re able to provide a higher level of customer service than department stores.
“You get more of a one-on-one with people,” said Katie Gehl. “And you can really have a connection with your customers and really help them. And that’s what we want to do, we want to help everybody. We want to help people feel beautiful in whatever they buy here and want to come back and see us.”
Meanwhile, in Shreveport, downtown businesses were also drawing in customers looking to “shop small.”
Agora Borealis is a marketplace serving more than 300 artists. Everything in the space is handmade by local artisans.
Supporting neighbors is something that’s important to shoppers here.
“I really prefer to buy things from people that I know or know that it was made by a real human and real human hands,” said Kris Holland. “As opposed to going into a big box and getting something that was made by yet another automaton.”
The shop provided live music and pop-up artists to celebrate Small Business Saturday.
“A lot of our sales are going overseas and we don’t get that money back, so we want to keep that money local and this is the way to do it, is to celebrate with the small businesses of Shreveport-Bossier area and whatever area that people live in,” said Katy Larsen, Agora Borealis owner.
Passports were available at participating small businesses Saturday for a chance at prizes.
Texarkana Chamber of Commerce also provided a passport program as an incentive to shoppers for supporting small businesses.