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Sandy-ravaged shops hope for Small Business Saturday boost

HOBOKEN, N.J. Black Friday was the big day for major retailers, but Saturday is all about the mom-and-pop stores.

As CBS Station WCBS reports, the day known as Small Business Saturday has special meaning for those trying to make it back from superstorm Sandy.

The storm put many people out of business in the New York-New Jersey area, but some are hoping that sales on Saturday will give them the boost they so desperately need.

The warmth and familiarity of a neighborhood mom and pop store is an undeniable part of most communities, but weeks after Sandy hit, small businesses have continued to suffer, reports WCBS' Amy Dardashtian.

"We want to stay in business," said Babylon, L.I., gift shop owner Pat Turner. "I've been here 32 years."

Marshal Cohen, an analyst with the NDP Group of Port Washington, said it will take a month or more for local retailers to catch up from business lost in the aftermath of the storm.

Small Business Saturday is an annual nationwide effort to support small businesses. Local shops will be highlighted all day Saturday.

Sheila Dallara of Hoboken can buy toys elsewhere, but she said she'll only do it in her town, where her bucks help buy a bounce back.

"It's so important to support local businesses and help bring them back," Dallara told WCBS' Dave Carlin.

When Sandy zapped the store's power, Big Fun Toys on Washington Street lost more than just a week of business. "We really are going to be relying on this holiday season to catch up with the effects of Sandy," said Big Fun Toys manager Kathleen Childs.

In Long Beach, Nassau County, small business owners such as Cuban Crocodile Restaurant operator Marini Wolfe are dealing with damage to their businesses and their homes.

"You don't know which to go for first - your home, your business - but they're both equally important," Wolfe said.

During Sandy, Marini's restaurant was filled with flood water, and the boiler and water heater were destroyed.

The State of New York is offering emergency low-interest loans to help get small businesses back on their feet, but business owners say they also need the local foot traffic.

"We're open, but you know, these people don't really, you know, have the money, the time, or whatever," said Kevin Donald, owner of Go Green Dry Cleaning in Long Beach. "They're just trying to survive, and we're trying to survive, too."

Small retailers emphasized that supporting local businesses means supporting the whole community.

"When you're supporting local businesses you support people who live, the people who work here, live here, and it's a good, efficient way of supporting the town you live in," Childs added.

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