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St. Louis business owners get creative to entice shoppers on Small Business Saturday

The Central West End business district offered incentives for people to eat and shop in the area

ST. LOUIS — Since 1969, book worms have shopped at Left Bank Books in the Central West End. But COVID-19 changed its old concept and made the book store turn a new page.

Co-owner Kris Kleindienst said to stay alive, she had to think outside of the box.

And on Small Business Saturday, the creativity continued to flow.

Kleindienst said the store added appointments for guests to wander inside. All of the time slots were booked on Saturday.

Central West End even offered incentives. Customers who dined in or ordered takeout received a gift card for spending a certain amount.

The streets were even taken over by performers as they entertained shoppers.

Credit: KSDK

"I'm so appreciative of what the Central West End is doing as a neighborhood to support its businesses," Kleindienst said.

A Brentwood apparel business also used its imagination to boost sales. For every $50 spent, shoppers received a free face mask. 

The owner made sure the fun didn't stop on Saturday either. On Cyber Monday, Arch Apparel plans to have a power hour. 

The same goes for Abigail's Gift Boutique in south city. The shop extended sales to more than just one day. 

"This year we decided to spread out our whole sale throughout the weekend. You can take advantage of our sales Friday through Monday," owner Abby Fischer said.

Fischer said she has already seen the benefit of this new plan.

"It definitely worked yesterday, so we were double busy as we were on a normally be on a Black Friday," she explained.

While shopping small may look different, owners said the amount of guests coming in to support is big.

"You can have such an impact on your community," Kleindienst said. 

It's not just the incentives that are creative this year

It's also what's inside those stores.

Some shops have COVID-19 themed ornaments, such as toilet paper. Shoppers can expect to see some 2020 themed gifts while shopping.

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