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In Chatham, Small Businesses Make Big Impact

Store owner Doris Crater arranged for many small businesses in downtown Chatham to open early Saturday for shoppers.

Doris Crater is busy this week promoting Small Business Saturday.

"You have Black Friday, with all the corporate money behind it. You have Cyber Monday to shop online. Now we finally have a day for us," Crater said.

Crater arranged for most of the small businesses in downtown Chatham Borough—including her own womens clothing store, d.j. crater,—to open at 7 or 8 a.m. Saturday and remain open most of the day.

These small stores give residents a chance to support local businesses and find unique gifts at the same time.

"I think people really want to shop locally, and hopefully we've provided enough variety here that they can find what they want," Amy McGrath, one of the owners of Quartet on South Passaic Avenue, said. "It's not what you find at the mall."

Support for local businesses is important, Crater said, because when local schools, churches or nonprofits need help, the small businesses are the first ones they turn to.

"Being part of our community is extremely important to us. We support our community fundraisers," Crater said.

Crater's store was one of several businesses in Chatham that opened their doors for residents to come in and use their heat, electricity and WiFi after Tropical Storm Sandy left many without those basic utilities.

Crater opened d.j. crater for Small Business Saturday two years ago. It was so successful for her, she convinced other stores to try it in 2011.

"They were so successful with it that we're doing it again," she said. "It's really big."

With American Express sponsoring Small Business Saturday, Crater said small businesses can advertise as a unit with a voice that reaches farther than any single business could hope to accomplish alone.

"As a small business owner, you wear many hats," Crater said. "You're a marketing manager with a very limited amount of money. With American Express behind us, it's big. It's really big."

d.j. crater will open at 7 a.m., and Crater said there will be a large selection of gifts for under $30.

Quartet will open at 8 a.m. and will offer 15 percent off of purchases until 10 a.m.

When will your small business open on Saturday? Tell us in the comments!

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