Updated 11/24/12 – 5:32 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — For the third straight year, business leaders were encouraging consumers to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Some experts say small businesses are responsible for up to 70 percent of the nation’s jobs. As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, that’s why the White House sent one of its best-known voices to Chicago on Small Business Saturday to show how shopping small can give the country a big boost.
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett checked out the latest biography on her boss, President Barack Obama, at Powell’s Bookstore in Hyde Park on Saturday. It’s a small independent book store that she and the president regularly visited before they moved from Hyde Park to D.C.
“We knew him when you were the real star,” one of the employees told Jarrett.
But on Saturday, the message was the star. That’s why, on Small Business Saturday, Jarrett was shopping in her old neighborhood, hoping others would follow her lead.
“All across the country, we’re encouraging folks to go out in their own neighborhood, and support small businesses,” Jarrett said.
At The Competitive Foot in Oak Park, store owner Tim Eggert said Small Business Saturday provides a significant boost.
“We’ve increased our numbers here the last two years, and so far after yesterday, we’re doing very well. So it’s been good,” Eggert said.
Inigo Zapater picked up a $114 pair of shoes for just over $8. He said it’s not just the prices that make him shop at the nearly 40-year-old store.
“I feel better when I shop here, because they help us as a running club,” he said
Across town, Colleen Maia was offering up free baguettes to customers like Catherine Deam, who bought a hat and two antique bells at Bee Home and Garden.
“Supporting Oak Park and our community is so essential for the health of, not only this store, but all of our small shops,” Deam said.
Maia’s store just happens to be the newest business in Oak Park. She took a risk two months ago when she opened it.
“I read someplace that, aerodynamically, a bee’s not supposed to be able to fly, but it can. And same thing with our store. People say, ‘Well that might not be able to fly here on Chicago Avenue,’ but we know it can,” she said.
Last year, more than 100 million people are believed to have taken part in Small Business Saturday by shopping small.