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'We're tired of fighting to try and keep our stores open' | Businesses hope for breakthrough on Small Business Saturday

The 'Givesboro' campaign also kicks off Saturday, when shoppers can donate to the community while getting discounts at some small businesses.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — While some big-name stores had a steady flow of traffic for Black Friday, Saturday is the time for small businesses to shine. 

Local business owners are hoping Small Business Saturday prevails in the start of their community comeback. 

"We're all tired of struggling were tired of fighting to try and keep our stores open and its something that’s beyond our control which makes it frustrating," said Gate City Candy Shop Owner Daniel Weatherington.

Small businesses in the community have suffered through 2020, with coronavirus shutting down some stores for months, many are still struggling to get on their feet. 

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"There are just some days where you don’t want to do it anymore you’re like why am I doing this?" said Crooked Tail Cat Cafe Owner Karen Stratman.

"Were hanging in there. It's definitely different from last year," said Vintage to Vogue Boutique Owner Jennifer Graf. 

Small Business Saturday is also providing hope through the kick-off of the Givesboro campaign.

Shoppers can purchase a discount card for $10 to get discounts at participating downtown businesses. There are also donation tins at the registers and round-up programs, too. 

The campaign encourages people to shop local, and all proceeds from the discount cards, tins and round-up programs go to the Interactive Resource Center to help support those experiencing homelessness.

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"This year, particularly because of the pandemic, I think it's really made us all realize we really are in this together more than ever," said Interactive Resource Center's Associate Director Kristina Singleton. 

Singleton said the Retail Alliance of Downtown Greensboro has always had a strong partnership with the IRC.

"We’ve always been supporters of local retailers in downtown Greensboro we always felt like it was a really good community partnership and I think when so many stores were forced to shut down this could negatively impact the whole city," said Singleton. 

Singleton said shopping locally and participating in Givesboro is the best way to support the community. 

"We're in a really hard place right now because we have a limited amount of space where people can come into our day center and more and more people need help on a regular basis," said Singleton, "The retailers that work downtown are important to the entire city and it makes us who we are."

The money raised to support the IRC will go to the general operations fund. Singleton said that could help pay for anything from a hotel room for someone to a white flag emergency shelter. 

Businesses are hoping shoppers realize how much the community needs them. 

"It's very hard because all of our businesses you talk to any small business owner were making about half of what we normally do," said Stratman, "All of the big corporations that you may want to support, they’re going to be there next year, but I can guarantee you if things don’t turn around soon all of these local places aren’t gonna be here in 2021."

Graf said matching up to sales last year has been a struggle and she hopes things turn around soon. 

"Sales this year was, let's face it, horrible," Graf said, "We're definitely trying to make it as safe as possible for our customers and ourselves."

"Shop small, support local. Come downtown. It's safe down here, we’ve got a lot to offer," said Weatherington, "There’s something for everybody downtown."

Givesboro starts Saturday, Nov. 28, and runs through Dec. 31.