American Express offering $25 credit if you shop at participating small business November 24

CLEVELAND - Black Friday has become a corporate holiday promoted by the big box stores. If you want to skip the long lines and holiday chaos, think about those stores you drive past every day filled with small businesses. How many have you actually visited? Do you really know what's inside? Get inspired this weekend and think about the little guy. His business may have something to offer you, because they have Black Friday sales too.

"This is the biggest weekend for us. Probably for the whole year," duoHome co-owner Tim Kempf said.

The Gordon Square shop is in its fifth year. This weekend, you can expect 30 percent off furniture and look in the newspaper for a 20 percent off coupon valid through the holidays. There are items for every shopper.

"You find something someone put their love into into as opposed to manufactured abroad," shopper Sybil Domond said.

The small businesses in Lakewood, Gordon Square, and neighborhoods across northeast Ohio are filled with handcrafted jewelry, specialty candles and ornaments.

"Our holiday merchandise is all on sale. I had a woman in last week and she asked me why. I said we have to compete with the big box stores," said Plantation Home President David Stein.

American Express is giving you another incentive to skip the big box stores this Saturday.

"Basically you are getting $25 for free," Stein said.

American Express will give you a $25 credit for every $25 you spend at a participating small business. While it's a one day event, Plantation Home hopes it's the start of a trend that lasts year round.

These stores are selling one of a kind merchandise and service too.

"It's not like a mall with crowds of people," shopper Vivian Nelson said, who stopped in her favorite locally owned clothing store for more than just a new outfit.

"Today, I was in here looking around and visiting the lady here who owns the shop."

Instead of driving by these shops this weekend, stop in and say hello. You might find a gift you won't find anywhere else.

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