BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- On any given morning, you’ll be greeted personally when you walk into Animal Outfitters on Elmwood Avenue.
“We offer cookies, hot apple cider; we like to engage into conversations, talk to customers about their pets,” said owner Omar Zahzouhi.
Animal Outfitters has been in business in The Elmwood Village for ten years, and Small Business Saturday is always a special chance for Zahzouhi to say thank-you to his loyal customers.
It’s also a way to celebrate small business, just one day after big business seemed to rule the holiday shopping game.
“Small retailers like us, we offer a special type of service,” Zahzouhi said.
That service, he told News 4, is a personal touch.
Zahzouhi’s dog, Star, usually accompanies him to greet customers. He always remembers what his customers buy, so he recommends products not simply for sale value, but because he knows who likes what.
It’s the sixth year Small Business Saturday has been observed, and this year the city of Buffalo wants to make it easier for both shoppers and retailers.
“A lot of the local businesses said parking is a concern on Elmwood so we want business owners to be happy and we want shoppers to be able to get into the shops and the restaurants as easily as possible,” said Common Council member Joel Feroleto.
Feroleto is co-sponsoring a holiday shuttle to kick off Small Business Saturday; the city is waiving parking feels at the Gallagher Ramp, where the shuttle picks people up.
From the Gallahgher Ramp, the shuttle stops at seven different local business locations on Elmwood Avenue between Forest and Allen; it runs every 15 minutes.
So if you’re looking for a Christmas tree, homemade pop-tarts, pet supplies, or just a cup of cider and good conversation, you won’t have to worry about feeding the meter.
“Shopping at a local business has three times more of an impact on the local economy than shopping at a big retailer. You’re also helping support your neighbors, these are people who live, and work, and do business in this community,” said Angela Keppel of The Elmwood Village Association.
The shuttle runs from noon until midnight starting Saturday Nov. 28 and lasting for the next three Saturdays.
Feroleto said it’s the city’s way of making small business a priority for the entire holiday shopping season.