Small Business Saturday Helps Build Communities

Saturday was "Small Business Saturday." An initiative started by American Express to encourage shoppers to support their local small businesses. But buying local is about more than supporting a community, it's about building one.

For Jane Janke Johnson, Janke's Bookstore in Wasusau is more than just a small business. It's her family's legacy.

"Following World War I, my grandfather and a partner started the business and it's been in our family ever since. After Korea, my father came back and now my brother and I are the owners of the business," Janke Johnson told NewsChannel 7.

The store's history is not the only thing that makes this small business special.

"When I walk in the front door they know my name," long time patron Nancy Russell said.

Although malls may be good for those big ticket items, if you want something a little more personal this holiday season you're going to want to shop small.

"I will bet you money that usually it's the unique gifts that I find at the small local businesses that become my kids favorites," Janke patron Alison Bukowski wagered.

Bukowski has made shopping small a tradition in her family. She says it's important to not only keep the dollars in our community, but also develop that sense of community. According to Bukowski, no one does that better than Janke's Bookstore.

"They go that extra mile and I think that's just really important for a community to know that they have a place like this. You feel welcome when you walk in the door and there's a warmth to the atmosphere. And the selection, you find items you're not going to find on the shelves in the big box store," Bukowski explained.

That's why she says it's so important to support your local businesses this holiday season.

"Slowly the smaller stores, the family owned businesses are closing their doors. That's why every time we come to town we always make sure we come to Janke's because there's nothing like it," Bukowski said.

"We really need to shop local. Support our small businesses because I can guarantee you downtown Wausau would look a lot different without Janke's," Janke Johnson told NewsChannel 7.

Saturday marked the third annual "Small Business Saturday." Last year American Express reports over one hundred million people came together to shop small. A trend many hope continues.

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