SYCAMORE – Small business Saturday, an event organized to support local businesses in Sycamore, is an opportunity to find gifts for the holiday season the day after Black Friday. UOI Boutique, 307 W State St. Sycamore, is amongst the many stores opening their doors for Saturday.
American Express founded the event in 2010 so more small businesses could get noticed for their craftsmanship.
UOI Boutique specializes in particular crafts clothing, shoes and accessories for women. Their mission, as a boutique, is to empower women, and make them feel great in what they wear. “We want customers to feel confident and comfortable in the clothes they wear from us,” Kierstyn Long, a UOI employee and NIU student, said.
Long takes pride in helping women with fashion and she enjoys being a part of a woman’s self expression. “Whether that’s helping to put together an outfit or helping someone order a product online that we don’t have in store,” Long said.
Long first interned at UOI over the summer, and was hired in the fall, making this year her first time working Small Business Saturday. However, she has participated in the event as a consumer with her mother in the past.
As an employee this time, “I am excited to see people from the community come out to support their local businesses and keep money in the community,” Long said. Sycamore is seemingly takes pride in shopping locally, according to Long, so the turnout should be impressive and supportive.
“We’ve always had great turnouts for our local shopping events, so I wouldn’t expect this to be any different,” Long said.
While Small Business Saturday remains a chance for locals to find unique gifts, it’s an equal opportunity for small businesses to get their name out to more people in the community and bring in new customers, according to Long.
For surrounding small businesses, the event allows them to build a bond with one another. When locals support them, “it builds camaraderie among all the local businesses,” Long said.
On Saturday, Sycamore's local businesses hope to strengthen their ties to the community, by supporting one another. UOI Boutique hopes to “continue to be a part of the downtown revival in Sycamore,” Long said.