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Local shops gear up for Small Business Saturday

By Heather Hintze 9:56 AM November 27, 2013

Boutiques and galleries are offering discounts to encourage people to spend money on local goods

ANCHORAGE – A lot of time and energy goes into making one-of-a-kind items. For Annie Ciszak Pazar, it’s worth it.

“Even some of my ear wires I make per pair so they might not even be the same each time,” said Ciszak Pazar. “Similar but different, and I think that’s cool. The evidence of hand is what makes it unique.”

She stocks her store, Bella Boutique, with her own jewelry line and handmade goods from around Alaska and the U.S. It’s one of many Anchorage shops participating in Small Business Saturday, a movement that started three years ago as a way to get people out of big box stores to “shop small.”

Bella Boutique customers appreciate all the quirky crafts.

“One of the things I love here is the really fun jewelry,”  said customer Katie Bender. “It’s always fun to get a new, funky piece for one of my girlfriends.”

Bella Boutique will give away tote bags to the first 20 customers on Small Business Saturday.

Ciszak Pazar hopes a lot of people will turn out to support Anchorage artists.

“When you buy local, not only are you getting something that’s far cooler than what you can get anywhere else, but you’re supporting your neighbors,” she said.

Bender agreed.

“Small business really is the backbone of our economy, and we want to make sure we’re keeping small business alive and supporting our community,” she said.

In downtown Anchorage, Katie Sevigny’s studio is filled with her own artwork and other handmade goods, about 80 percent from Alaska.

“It means a lot to me as an artist to have people appreciate my craft and my work as well as seeing them appreciate what their community can put out there for them,” Sevigny said. “This is definitely a community art gallery.”

She’ll offer a discount on her clothing line and prints on Saturday. Sevigny said sales haven’t been great in the off-season and encourages Alaskans to shop at neighborhood stores.

“I think we really give character to the city, and if our locals aren’t supporting us we won’t be around very long,” Sevigny said.

Small businesses hope customers aren’t too worn out from Black Friday, because Saturday, it’s all about spending and keeping money here in the Last Frontier.

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