Central Florida small businesses hope for influx of customers during Small Business Saturday

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Around Central Florida, small businesses are gearing up for Small Business Saturday and the possible influx of customers this year.


Small Business Saturday is a chance to give more business to the mom-and-pop shops that make up your communities while shopping to find a little extra for the family this holiday season.

“This country was built on your small businessman many moons ago, and I keep hoping and praying that we somehow could return to that, and people will continue to support their small businesspeople,” said Liz Sheppard, the owner of Bebe’s and Liz’s Fashion Experience.

Sheppard said in recent years, most people do all their shopping in malls or online, but this year’s holiday shopping weekend, her boutique has seen a lot of customers. Which she said gives her hope for other small businesses this weekend.

“It’s been a great Black Friday so far, and I believe in my heart it’s going to be an amazing Saturday as well,” said Sheppard.

She said some small businesses are becoming obsolete, and big department retail stores make it harder for some owners with their price match.

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According to the U.S Small Business Administration, in 2022, people who shopped at small business retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $17.9 billion, according to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

Sheppard said customers that shop locally will allow owners to provide a level of service big box retailers can’t match, like shopping for unique gifts and custom products and services.

She said Thanksgiving weekend is the biggest shopping season of the year, and she’s hoping the momentum will continue.

“It’s been a great Black Friday so far, and I believe in my heart it’s going to be an amazing Saturday as well,” said Sheppard.

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Bebe’s and Liz’s Fashion Experience has been in business for 42 years. It sits in the heart of downtown Winter Park and has some custom and unique children’s and women’s clothing.

Sheppard said her drive to continue running the boutique is the love of her new and returning customers. She treats them like family and only wants to give them the service not offered anywhere else.

“Most of my customers have become family,” Sheppard said. “I cannot tell you how many wedding showers and baby showers I have done for my customers.”

Sheppard said the boutique will have some sales throughout the weekend and be open until 6 p.m.

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