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Grafton businesses look forward to Small Business Saturday after floods set them back

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GRAFTON, Ill. – As Black Friday wraps, another big shopping day approaches. Tomorrow, there’s a push to shop local for Small Business Saturday.

The town of Grafton is especially looking forward to the support that drives their community after recent flooding put a lot of businesses behind.

Small businesses lined along the Mississippi River can recall the water that took over back in March and put them out of business for months.

“For the area, it was very traumatic,” said Kathy Arnold, an employee at Grafton Oyster Bar.

“We had seven feet of water inside the building,” said Dan Bechtold, owner of Knotty By Nature.

Illinois State Senator Rachelle Crowe reminds residents to support local businesses in Madison, St. Clair, and Jersey counties where small businesses are the economic drivers.

“As you go through Grafton, I don’t think you’ll see any chain business,” Bechtold said. “We are all independent businesses.”

Bechtold said they’ll have at least ten percent off all merchandise in this nostalgic hardwood store for small business Saturday, but it’s every day that local store success is crucial.

The same water that draws tourist to the town set businesses back.

“The river is our best friend and our worst enemy,” Bechtold said.

The Oyster Grafton Oyster Bar, positioned on the water, hopes the support continues on Small Business Saturday.

“It is a family community. We all support each other,” Arnold said.

The senator cited a National Federation of Independent Business report that 2018 was a big year for local shopping, with 104 million people spending a record high of more than $17 billion on Small Business Saturday.

After overcoming the storm, the riverfront businesses say the support is what they rely on.

“We’re just hoping the community comes back and supports us again and local businesses because that’s what make up this community…the families that work here,” Arnold said.

“Being a town without McDonald’s, Casey’s, whatever, we strive because this what we survive on,” Bechtold said.

Small Business Saturday deals will go on throughout the country. American Express has put together a map to display all businesses participating.

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