PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria-area small businesses are seeing more profit after getting and influx of customers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Barb Milaccio owns Exhibit A Gallery in Peoria Heights.
She has been in business for 25 years.
After the coronavirus hit the U.S. earlier this year, Milaccio feared her business could be on it’s last leg.
“I just had to hit the reset button and just say to myself am I going to go out of business because of a pandemic or because I want to retire?” Milaccio asked herself. “I said no I am not ready yet I am going to fight for this business.”
The impact of financial hardships in communities and coronavirus mitigations in the state striked small businesses like the gallery.
“Consumer spending is kind of the backbone of the American economy and small businesses rely on consumer spending,” Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti said.
Milaccio said her shop is unique and can provide a range of art pieces from more than 100 local artists.
Even then, she said the big box stores are still picking up more customers.
She altered her approach and is now using social media to display products and art work.
On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Milaccio’s front door opened continuously.
I was presently surprised how busy that we were,” she said.
Milaccio said it was a message of support from the community that she does not take lightly.
“A lot of them key off of these few days and Christmas shopping season in general sometimes to make their entire year,” Setti said.
People came in they specifically said because I want to shop small and support a local business.Barb Milaccio, Owner/Exhibit A Gallery
Milaccio said she is grateful to customers who continue to put small businesses first.