By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — On Cyber Monday, Americans are expected to spend more than $12 billion in online stores.

Some mom and pop shops in the northern suburbs are fighting for a piece of that e-commerce pie.

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CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports they may be winning.

At Style Shack, a store in Highland Park, lots of items are packed up, ready to be shipped out.

“We sell a number of home decor items, jewelry, gifts of all sorts. Things to definitely boost the mood,” said the owner of Style Shack, Sherry Levin.

Levin’s mood is certainly brighter this Cyber Monday. For the first time in her store’s 14 year history, she’s selling online. Sales are up 20%.

“It’s been marvelous. It has most definitely helped us,” Levin said. “We are able to reach a much broader audience.”

Like all brick and mortar stores, Style Shack has been hurt by the pandemic. The store was forced to close for months during what should have been the busy graduation and Mother’s Day shopping season.

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“It’s been a tremendously difficult time,” Levin said.

Today, Sherry is one of 30 Highland Park merchants who’ve come together to sell their goods on one website: the Downtown Highland Park Marketplace. As CBS 2 first reported last week, online customers can shop at all the stores, and pay with a single transaction.

The Marketplace’s Ilyse Strongin said over Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and now Cyber Monday, the website’s traffic has jumped a staggering 300%.

“It has been skyrocketing all weekend long,” Strongin said. “The merchants are so thankful and grateful that they have this other outlet for sales, which they would not otherwise have.”

Sherry Levin is even doing what you might find unthinkable: encouraging other stores in Highland Park, her competitors, to join the website to take on the online giants.

“We feel that if we can work collectively, we can make an enormous difference and we have to be able to take on Amazon. So, this is the only way to do it is to do it together,” Levin said.

Power in numbers. In business. Not just for the holidays but all year long. Click on this link for more information on the Downtown Highland Park Marketplace.

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