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Many locally owned stores across central Wisconsin took part in Small Business Saturday. The nationwide campaign was started by American Express in 2010 to encourage holiday shoppers to buy at small retailers.
"It draws awareness that we should support our local community," Janke Book Store Co-Owner Jane Janke Johnson said.
Janke Book Store has been in business in downtown Wausau for more than 90 years. Owners said the store's specialty items set it apart.
"We make special effort to find things that they're not going to find at the big box shops," Jane Janke Johnson said.
Other local business owners said Small Business Saturday was a great way to raise awareness.
"There's a lot of small businesses that are really working hard to get your business, too," Sprocketz Bike Shop Owner John Nowaczyk said.
He opened the store three years ago and said it hasn't been easy.
"We don't have the advertising budgets of the big box stores so when people come in, we get word of mouth. Our biggest advertising is good reviews from our good customers."
Customers told Newsline 9 it's the level of service that keeps them coming back.
"It's nice to have a face in the community that can help...and you can't get that online or anywhere else," Jennifer Barden of Wausau said.
"You might pay a little more, but you're going to get the service that backs it up," Nowaczyk said of shopping at smaller retail stores.
Local business owners said when you shop locally, 70 percent of every dollar spent stays within the community.
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