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Philadelphia Area Shops Grateful For Their Regulars On Small Business Saturday: 'That's Our Lifeblood'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The deals continue for holiday shoppers on Saturday. And today is all about keeping it local -- it's Small Business Saturday. 

Small Business Saturday is all about supporting local, independently-owned businesses. 

"They love us here," Brandyn Ross, the owner of Studying Never Stops, an apparel company, said. "The mall, they ask us to come back a lot and that's what we keep doing. The people know we're here so we come."

Ross, a 13-year-old business owner, sells his apparel at the Cherry Hill Mall every weekend from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. out front of the J.Crew in November and December. 

"They say studying never stops," Ross said. "It means you never stop studying in life."

The young entrepreneur has been working since he was 9-years-old, and it's a family affair. Ross enlists his sister and his mother to close deals.  

"I had to realize I had to support his goals and his dreams," Brandi Ross, Brandyn's mother, said.

And on the dawn of another Small Business Saturday, those hopes and dreams are being realized by small business owners all across our region.

"You're not gonna find the same things here that you do at the big box stores or online," Phillip Dawson, the executive director of the Chestnut Hill business District, said. "And you know when you buy something you're gonna be able to take it home that day. There's not gonna be a shipping delay. It's not gonna be stuck on a container ship."

The Chestnut Hill area is full of smaller businesses that thrived Saturday. People come from near and far to experience the quaint strip. Even if it's grabbing treats from the local co-op, right next door they can find the spices they need for that perfect marinade.

"You don't have to go far. You go next door and get your groceries, veggies and protein then come here and get all your sauces and seasonings," Shannon Williams of the Philly Spice Rack said.

Shoppers are not only helping the local economy -- they're helping parts of the community that continue to grow.

"Small Business Saturday has been really good for us the last five, 10 years especially the last five years," Pat Feeney, the owner of Main Street Music in Manayunk, said.

Feeney opened Main Street Music 30 years ago. They're recovering from multiple setbacks over the last year and a half. First, there was the lockdown because of the pandemic and then in September, the remnants of Hurricane Ida left parts of Manayunk under several feet of water. 

"We are so grateful to our regulars. We have so many regular customers that have such allegiance to us," Feeney said. "That's our lifeblood."

To avoid the parking grinches, make sure you pay the meter. The city eliminated free parking this holiday season. 

The city eliminated the perk saying it was counter-productive. They said businesses were losing out on new customers because there was no turnover in parking spots. 

According to the Small Business Association, small businesses like Bernie's Manayunk account for 44% of economic activity in the United States, and they create two-thirds of new jobs in the country. 

"No zoom calls here in the restaurant business," Michael Clarke, of Bernies Manayunk, said. "Everyone is here every day to work and we're all here to work hard."

But the hope is that you'll continue to support these businesses throughout the holiday season and beyond.

CBS3's Howard Monroe and Alecia Reid contributed to this report.

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