MARSHALL - Since 2010, businesses and community organizations have promoted Small Business Saturday following the Black Friday chain store sales to bring shopping dollars back to the community.
This year, the Marshall Downtown Business Association encouraged shoppers with coupons for free cups of coffee or hot chocolate at the Daily Grind as a way of saying, "Thanks for shopping small business."
Downtown stores generally opened at their regular hours and did good, steady business.
Todd Schroeder, owner of Marshall Decorating, said business started slow in the morning, but that's typical for the first few hours of the day.
Down the street at Noble Woman, sales clerk Courtney Voorhees reported steady sales of sweaters, scarves and other sale items.
Evelyn Traen mounted a shopping expedition with two of her daughters and two granddaughters.
"I bought boots, shoes, tops, fragrances and lotions," Evelyn Traen said.
Daughter Cathy Traen, proud owner of two new pairs of boots, said Small Business Saturday is their family tradition.
Big ticket items seem to move more on Black Friday then Small Business Saturday, according to Lyle Patzer, owner of Patzers furniture store.
"Yesterday (Friday) was the best Black Friday in years," Patzer said. "Our customer count was up, they were all in a good mood, it was a great, busy day."
Next door at Bot Appliance and Electronics, co-owner Terry Haas said TVs were selling well, the same kind of commodities that sell on Black Friday.
"What's nice is people are appreciating and supporting small businesses," Haas said.
Terry Schreier, co-owner of One Note, said guitars on sale weren't moving quickly because they're not an impulse buying item.
"The sale started on Black Friday and a lot of people came in wanting one, but parents want to make sure the kids really want one and will stick with it before they buy an expensive guitar," Schreier said.
Renee DeAustin, owner of Johnson's Paint and Wallpaper, said Christmas ornaments and gifts were selling well.
Cami Fath, co-owner of Fabric Plus, also said she got a boost from early Christmas shoppers.
"Customers have a tendency to buy up the last stuff they're going to make for Christmas," Fath said. "Our customers need a little more prep time because they need to make what they're going to be giving for Christmas."
Rachel Deutz, owner of Treasured Times, said she's seen the market for CDs fall after music became available for download, and then rise again, and the same pattern with books after Kindle. This year, sales were good both Friday and Saturday.
"I think we're ready for Christmas," Deutz said. "I hope Small Business Saturday takes off."
By late afternoon back at Marshall Decorating, sales had indeed taken off.
"It's been a good day; there have been a lot of people in," sales clerk Karen Pederson said.